Skip to content

    Asthma Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Asthma Action Plan: Red Zone - Topic Overview

    An asthma action plan is based on zones defined by your symptoms, your peak flow, or both. It tells you what to do if you have a sudden increase in your asthma symptoms (asthma attack).

    You are in the red zone of your asthma action plan if you have severe asthma symptoms. Symptoms include:

    Recommended Related to Asthma

    Asthmatic Bronchitis

    Every time you breathe in, air enters your nose and mouth. It flows down your throat and into a series of air passageways called bronchial tubes. Those tubes need to be open for the air to reach your lungs, where the oxygen is passed into the blood to be transported to your body's tissues. If the airways are inflamed, air has more difficulty getting to your lungs. With less air getting in, you can feel short of breath. You may wheeze and cough in an attempt to draw in more oxygen through tightened...

    Read the Asthmatic Bronchitis article > >

    • Any shortness of breath while walking, talking, or at rest.
    • Use of the chest muscles to breathe. The skin between, above, and under the ribs collapses inward with each breath (retractions).
    • Wheezing. But if symptoms are very severe, you may not hear any wheezing. Wheezing will stop when the amount of air moving through the bronchial tubes becomes dangerously low. In this case, no wheezing is actually worse than hearing wheezing.
    • Peak expiratory flow less than 50% of your personal best peak flow measurement. To find 50% of your personal best, multiply your personal best measurement by 0.50. For example, if your personal best flow is 400, then 50% of that is 400 times 0.50, which is 200. In this example, a peak expiratory flow less than 200 means you are in the red zone.

    Treatment for asthma attacks in the red zone includes:

    • Seeking immediate medical attention while you are following your asthma action plan.
    • Using medicine based on your asthma action plan.
    • Talking with a doctor immediately about what to do next.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: /2, 14 1
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Asthma Action Plan: Red Zone Topics

    When Is Your Asthma Worse?

    When Is Your Asthma Worse?

    Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

    Start Now

    Today on WebMD

    Lung and bronchial tube graphic
    5 common triggers.
    group jogging in park
    Should you avoid fitness activities?
     
    asthma inhaler
    Learn about your options.
    man feeling faint
    What’s the difference?
     
    Madison Wisconsin Capitol
    Slideshow
    woman wearing cpap mask
    Article
     
    red wine pouring into glass
    Slideshow
    Woman holding inhaler
    Quiz
     
    Man outdoors coughing
    Article
    Lung and bronchial tube graphic
    Article
     
    10 Worst Asthma Cities
    Slideshow
    runner
    Article