young ethnic female using her inhaler on a hike

Know your signs

Take action to control your asthma

Jun 14, 2021

When your airways are constricted from asthma, you are likely to experience shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing and coughing. Having an asthma action plan can help you keep your asthma under control. Work with your provider to create the best asthma action plan for your health. Ask about these possible action plan zones to guide your care.

When you’re in the “Green Zone,” you’re doing well. You should:
  • Have no coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing.
  • Be able to work, play, exercise or do your everyday activities with no symptoms.
  • Have a peak-flow reading of 80 to 100% of your personal best.

When you’re in the “Yellow Zone,” you should take caution. This means you are:
  • Coughing, wheezing, feeling tightness in your chest or having difficulty breathing.
  • Able to do some, but not all, usual activities.
  • Waking up at night due to asthma.
  • Getting 50 to 79% of your personal best when you use your peak-flow meter.

When you’re in the “Red Zone,” contact your provider immediately. This means you are:
If you cannot reach your provider, go to the nearest emergency department or call 911.
  • Very short of breath.
  • Having problems walking or talking due to asthma symptoms.
  • Not responding to quick-relief medicines.
  • Experiencing symptoms that are the same or getting worse after 24 hours in the “Yellow Zone”.
  • Getting a peak-flow reading of less than 50% of your personal best.

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