Asthma in Teens and Adults - When to Call a Doctor
Call911or other emergency services right away if:
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your symptoms do not get better after you have followed your asthma action plan.
- You have new or worse trouble breathing.
- Your coughing and wheezing get worse.
- You cough up dark brown or bloody mucus (sputum).
- You have a new or higher fever.
Call your doctor if:
- You need to use quick-relief medicine on more than 2 days a week (unless it is just for exercise).
- You cough more deeply or more often, especially if you notice more mucus or a change in the color of your mucus.
- You have asthma
and your peak flow has been getting worse for 2 to 3 days.
If you have not been diagnosed with asthma but have mild
asthma symptoms, call your doctor and make an appointment for an
If your teenager has symptoms of asthma, it is
important to see a doctor. Many teens with frequent wheezing may
have asthma but aren't diagnosed with the disease. Teens who have asthma but
are less likely to be diagnosed are most often:10
- Smokers, or teens who are
exposed to household cigarette smoke.
- Those with low socioeconomic
- Those who have allergies.
- African Americans,
Native Americans, or Mexican Americans.
Watchful waiting is a "wait and see" approach.
Watchful waiting may be
appropriate if you follow your
asthma action plan and stay within the
green zone. Watch your symptoms, and continue to avoid
your asthma triggers.
If you have been getting
treatment for 1 to 3 months but aren't improving, ask your doctor if you
need to see an asthma specialist.
Who to see
Doctors who can diagnose and treat
You may need to see a specialist (allergist or
pulmonologist) if you have:
- Severe persistent asthma.
- Other medical conditions that make it hard to treat
- A need for more education or trouble
following your asthma action plan.
- Not met the goals of treatment after several months of
- Had a life-threatening asthma attack.
testing for allergies.
- Occupational asthma.