There is no one-size-fits-all management plan for asthma, which can affect both adults and children. Anyone with this chronic illness, whether severe or mild, is encouraged to create a plan in case symptoms flare up. Such a plan can assist those who have asthma and the people close to them in managing their symptoms daily. When strictly followed, it could avoid a trip to the doctor or emergency department.
What Is An Asthma Action Plan?
A written asthma action plan specifies which asthma drugs you should take regularly and what to do if your symptoms worsen. Inhalers and other daily medications such as prescription drugs for symptom flare ups will likely be part of your treatment plan.
Asthma management plans are particularly crucial for children because patients frequently rely on a caregiver to treat their symptoms rather than doing it themselves. It is crucial to provide copies of a plan to everyone responsible for the child's care, including parents, grandparents, daycare providers, and instructors. Everyone will then be aware of what to do if the child's symptoms worsen. As small children age, they might begin to understand and use their plans independently.
Since every person's asthma is unique, their action plan will also be tailored to their individual circumstances, but it should have the same essential features as all asthma action plans in Australia recommended by Asthma Australia. So, best to keep them in mind when you visit your doctor or GP.
What is in the Asthma Action Plan?
Along with the basic details of the patient, such as the name, doctor’s contact details, and an emergency contact person, each plan typically has four colour-coded zones. With each zone, it covers in-depth details about what to do when symptoms occur, among other recommendations.
Here are the zones that you will find in an asthma action plan:
1. Green Zone
The green zone of the plan means that asthma symptoms are well-controlled. One indication is that you only use your blue puffer less than three times a week. However, it doesn’t mean that you or your child is off the hook. Continue doing routine management and taking prescribed medication to avoid dipping into yellow or, worse, red.
2. Yellow Zone
If you notice that you use your blue puffer more than three times a week and wake up wheezing or coughing at night, your asthma may be getting worse. What does this mean? Your asthma is in the yellow zone, and you may need to take additional medication prescribed by your GP. If symptoms don’t improve, you should see your doctor immediately.
3. Orange Zone
The orange zone indicates that your asthma is severe and needs immediate attention. Notice worsening asthma symptoms, like an increase in coughing, shortness of breath, or chest tightening, and follow the instructions your doctor has written for you in the orange section. It may include taking oral steroid tablets or going to your doctor immediately.
4. Red Zone
Likewise to an alert or warning, the red zone means that you need to seek emergency care because of severe shortness of breath or you’re no longer experiencing relief from your puffer. In this part of the asthma action plan, the person should follow the asthma first aid and immediately call for emergency and dial 000.
How Often Should an Asthma Action Plan be Reviewed?
Whenever you visit your doctor, you should go over your asthma management plan. Children, however, should have their plan reviewed every six months. Additionally, a management plan needs updating whenever medications change, or other symptoms occur.
What Should You do with Your Asthma Action Plan?
Everyone who has asthma should create an asthma action plan. Its goal is to assist people with asthma in preventing emergency visits or hospital stays if asthma symptoms worsen. As such, you should always have a copy on hand.
If a child has a caregiver, such as a school, daycare, babysitter, or grandparent, make sure they have a copy and are knowledgeable about the plan. The plan for your child should include your and your child's doctors' contact information.
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