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|Step 9: Understand your action plan|
You should ask for a written action plan. Action plans come in a variety of styles and formats. Sometimes you will get several sets of instructions, other times all of the instructions will be combined into one form. The most important thing is that the instructions should be easy to read and understand. Important parts of an action plan include:
The zone system
One of the most common action plan formats is the "zone system," which is based on traffic lights:
The GREEN ZONE explains how to manage your asthma on a daily (or regular) basis. In other words, it tells you what drugs to take on normal days when you are feeling good.
The YELLOW ZONE explains signs to look for that your asthma is getting worse. (Signs can include symptoms getting worse, or a drop in peak flow.) The yellow zone tells you what additional drugs/steps to take to bring your asthma back under control.
The RED ZONE explains when to contact a doctor or go to the emergency room.
Your action plan assumes that you are monitoring your own body for signs that your asthma is getting worse. Action plans designed for school can be especially important, so that everyone knows what to do when the asthma gets worse, and all the right medicines and phone numbers are on hand. There are two basic ways to do this:
Reviewed By: David A. Kaufman, MD, Section Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine, Bridgeport Hospital-Yale New Haven Health System, and Assistant Clinical Professor, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Previously reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. (6/18/2008)