Here at AireHealth we are committed to empowering patients and their caregivers with knowledge and tools to help them proactively manage their healthcare. This weeks blog is all about the importance of creating an Asthma Action Plan — and tips on how to use it.
What is an Asthma Action Plan?
An asthma action plan is an individualized plan that you can create alongside your child’s pediatrician. A personalized plan enables you to be more proactive with your children’s healthcare. By adhering to an asthma action plan, you can support your child in enjoying typical day to day activities while also limiting their wheezing and other symptoms. It can also help you to recognize when you need to contact your child’s doctor for further advice, or when to go to the emergency room.
The ultimate goal of an asthma action plan is to prevent or reduce wheezing and flare-ups, as well as help your child avoid unnecessary visits to the emergency department.
What Should be Included in an Asthma Action Plan?
Each child’s wheezing triggers and symptoms are different and their asthma action plan should reflect this. Most asthma plans should include the following standard details;
What your child’s medications are and their treatment schedule
An emergency contact and your child’s healthcare provider
What your child’s triggers are
How to record peak flow readings and use the results
What the early symptoms of flare-ups are and how they can be managed
What to do if your child’s flare-up progresses
When to seek emergency care
How Do I Use My Child's Asthma Action Plan?
Asthma action plans are designed to be simple to read and user-friendly. Most utilize a color-coded system that is divided into three zones, just like a traffic light, with green, yellow, and red.
The green zone is known as the “safety zone” and is the best zone for your child to be. When your child is in the green zone, they feel good and have no asthma symptoms. It is crucial that your child continues to take their control medications even while in the green zone, as this will help to prevent a flare-up of their symptoms.
The yellow zone is known as the “caution zone” and means that your child is experiencing symptoms. The yellow zone of your child’s asthma action plan explains how to recognize symptoms that indicate your child’s asthma is becoming worse. It will also state which medications your child should use to bring their asthma back under control. During the yellow zone, you should encourage your child to slow down and follow the steps in their action plan.
The red zone is known as the “danger zone” and means that your child’s asthma symptoms are severe. Your asthma action plan provides advice about what to do when your child’s flare-up is severe. It is crucial that you follow all of the steps and seek emergency medical treatment if their symptoms do not get better.
If your child is old enough to read and understand, they should also be encouraged to learn about their plan and how to use it.
Who Should Receive My Child's Asthma Action Plan?
Every adult that regularly takes care of your child should have a copy of their asthma action plan. A great tip is to keep a copy somewhere in your home that is easily accessible. Your child’s teacher should also have a copy of their plan.
It is crucial that you take the time to sit down with each person who receives the plan and explain to them how to use it. It is also helpful to explain what each of the different stages is and what your child’s symptoms may be during each.
How Often Should I Update My Child's Asthma Action Plan?
It’s important to sit down with your child’s doctor and review their plan every time their medication or dosage changes. You should also update their plan if their symptoms change or you notice new triggers. Remember to give copies of the updated plan to everyone who needs one, as well as explaining the changes.
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