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How to Understand Your Child's Asthma Action Plan

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The Red Zone

This zone means DANGER. Call your doctor right away if your child's in this zone. Your plan may ask him to take his "rescue" meds. If you think the symptoms are severe, don't hesitate to call 911.

Here's what to watch for:

  • His breathing is hard and fast.
  • His nose is open wide.
  • He has trouble walking.
  • He's not talking well.
  • His ribs are showing.


Keep the Plan Handy

This thing is important, so don't hide it. Post it, share it, and hang it where everyone in the house can see.

Also give a copy to everyone who cares for your child, such as:

  • Teachers or day care workers
  • School nurse
  • Babysitters
  • Coaches
  • Camp counselors

Make Sure It's Up to Date

Review the plan with your child's doctor at least once every 6 months. If your youngster is often in the yellow zone, check that he takes his medicine the right way and uses the correct inhaler technique. He may need to get to a higher dose to get his asthma under control.

If your doctor switches your child to a new medicine or increases the dose, note it on the plan. Then, hand out a new copy to everyone who needs it.

Your action plan won't "cure" your child's asthma, but it can make a huge difference in how well he keeps it under control. These simple rules can give you peace of mind when breathing problems flare.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on March 26, 2015
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