Using an Asthma Action Plan :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Using an Asthma Action Plan

Sit down with your doctor to develop an Asthma Action Plan. A plan can be very helpful, especially during an asthma flare-up.


Your Asthma Action Plan can help you decide:

  • What medicines to take

  • How much to take

  • When to take them

  • When and how to get help

Your Asthma Action Plan should include:

  • Emergency phone numbers

  • Flare-up symptoms

See your doctor every 3 to 6 months for an asthma checkup.

Sharing your plan

You may want to give a copy to friends, relatives, teachers, coaches, neighbors and babysitters so that they can help you if you have a flare-up.

An Asthma Action Plan may use 4 color "zones" to help you decide what to do:

Green Zone
(Doing well)

• Your breathing is good
• Avoid your asthma triggers
• Take your controller medicines every day to help prevent flare-ups

Yellow Zone
(Symptoms Starting)

• First signs of a cold, repeated cough, waking at night from cough
• Take your rescue (quick-relief) medicine to keep symptoms from getting worse
• If symptoms do not go away or return in 4 hours, call your doctor (see Orange
Zone instructions)
• Continue taking your controller medicines

Orange Zone
(In Trouble)

• Symptoms return too quickly (not improving): relief from quick-relief medicine
doesn’t last 4 hours; vomiting after coughing
• Quick-relief medicine is needed 4 or more times in a single day
• Take your Orange Zone medications
If you cannot reach your doctor and symptoms continue, go to an Urgent Care
or Emergency Room

Red Zone
(In Danger)

• Symptoms include hard, fast breathing (gasping); rib and neck muscles
show when breathing; lips and fingernail beds turn gray or blue
• On the way to the ER, take your Red Zone medications!

Download an Asthma Action Plan form.

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000