Asthma Action Plan: The Traffic Light

Asthma is a common illness affecting millions of people around the world. Most people especially children are on medications to control their asthma and reduce the number of attacks and the frequency of symptoms. What is your daily plan and how can you achieve good control of your child's asthma at home?

The Asthma Action Plan is a written outline created between the doctor and you/ your child and is a useful tool for parents who have children with asthma. It shows what medications to use on a daily basis, when to be alarmed and what to do in an emergency situation.

It is divided into three zones, GREEN, AMBER, RED just like stop light and these colours clearly tell you when to GO, when to be on the alert, and when there is am emergency.


This is the GO zone and signify that the child's breathing is good with no problems, as well as there is no cough, no wheeze, no issues with sleep at night and he/she can exercise/play without any breathing difficulties.

In this zone, continue with just preventative medication. That is the ventolin/'blue' inhaler as needed.


Like a traffic light, this is the proceed with caution zone. In this zone the child may have complaints of flu like symptoms such as cough/cold, or may experience chest tightness, mild wheeze or cough when exposed to triggers such as smoke, strong perfumes, dust etc. In this caution zone you should continue with daily medications as prescribed by the doctor, for example flixotide or the 'brown' inhaler, as well as ventolin/ 'blue' inhaler as needed. Note that in this zone the parent should inform the doctor of any changes.


THIS IS THE DANGER ZONE. Here you may notice that there is no relief of symptoms despite use of the ventolin inhaler. At this point. you must call and alert your doctor or emergency services. Your child may experience symptoms such as hard, fast breathing, trouble speaking, flaring of the nose, retraction of the muscles in the neck and between the ribs. Until medical aid arrive or you have arrived at a clinic/hospital, continue use of the ventolin inhaler.

This portion of your plan should contain all emergency numbers for the doctor, emergency room, and even an emergency next of kin.

Below is an example from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of an Asthma Action Plan for you to follow.



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