My Journey With Asthma: Action Plan

A young boy playing with a toy airplane on his father's shoulders(BlackDoctor.org) — Welcome to the second installment of my series “My Journey with Asthma.” In the last installment, my parents were told that I had been diagnosed with asthma. God blessed me to be born to a mother who was a respiratory therapist, so she knew exactly what was ahead for my future.

After the asthma diagnosis, what are the first steps?

Everyone diagnosed with asthma needs an Asthma Action Plan. This plan details what measures are taken depending on how the patient is feeling. This plan will also have to include the most important thing, how to AVOID an attack.

1. Know Your Triggers.  The main thing to remember when trying to avoid an attack is to know your triggers. Most doctors will perform an allergy test to let you know exactly what you are allergic to. For example, I have food allergies in addition to my environmental allergies. Most asthmatics have environmental allergies such as:

• Dust mites
• Pet Dander
• Mold and Mildew
• Cigarette Smoke

There are pillowcase and mattress covers that will help to prevent dust mites. It is recommended people with asthma sleep in a room with no carpet because dust mites can live in the carpet. Filters can be placed over heating vents of the home to cut down on dust mites as well. Finally, vacuum regularly and wash sheets and blankets in hot water (131 degrees Fahrenheit) to protect your asthmatic child from dust mite triggers.

2. Know Your Zone. The next part of the Asthma Action Plan is broken up into zones: Red, Yellow and Green.

The color system helps you and/or your child understand exactly what to do in response to their peak flow meter reading. A peak flow meter is an instrument that monitors the peak expiratory flow rate of air from a person’s bronchi (translation: the flow rate of the air that you can blow out of your lungs). This instrument is used to manage asthma.

Green Zone (safety zone) – How to manage you or your child’s asthma on a daily basis when he or she is feeling good.

Yellow Zone (caution zone) – How to look for signs that you or your child’s asthma is getting worse. It also instructs you on which medications to add to bring the asthma back under control.

Red Zone (danger zone) – What to do when a flare-up is SEVERE.

Before you can put this plan into action, you must know your child’s personal best. In addition to the different zones, the plan can include emergency phone numbers, as well as a list of triggers.

Please stay tuned for the next installment of ”My Journey with Asthma”, which will delve into coping with allergies and asthma.

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