Asthma in Teens and Adults - When to Call a Doctor
If you have been diagnosed
asthma and have an
asthma action plan, do the following:
Call911or other emergency services immediately if you are having
severe asthma symptoms (in the
red zone of your asthma action plan) and you have followed the plan,
Call your doctor immediately if
- Are in the red zone, and 6 hours after taking
the extra medicine the following are true:
- You still require inhaler medicine every 1
to 3 hours.
- Your PEF is below 70% of your personal best
- Are in the
yellow zone of the asthma action plan and continue to
have a PEF below 70% of your personal best measurement in spite of home
treatment using your asthma action plan.
- Have mild asthma symptoms
that get worse, and you feel there is nothing else you can do at
- Are having a first attack of asthma symptoms, and your
symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, and
moderate difficulty breathing.
coughing up green, dark brown, or bloody
Call your doctor if you:
- Have asthma symptoms, you do not have an asthma
action plan, and your symptoms are mild (chest tightness, cough, and slight
shortness of breath or tiring easily during exercise).
- Are having
symptoms in the yellow zone almost every day, and you need to use your
quick-relief inhaler medicine to control your symptoms.
- Have asthma
and your PEF 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. A large portion of teens with frequent wheezing may
have asthma but are not diagnosed with the disease. Teens who have asthma but
are less likely to be diagnosed are most often:18
- 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 period of
time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition
without using medical treatment. 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 are not improving, ask your doctor whether 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: