Fall 2011
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Update Your Child’s Asthma Action Plan

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If you are a parent of a child who has asthma then you should know the importance of having a copy of an updated asthma action plan (AAP) at your child's school. The AAP may also be referred to as the home management plan of care or management plan. The AAP can be given to your child's school nurse and will be helpful in managing your child's asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all people with asthma should have an AAP.

The AAP is a plan that you will develop with your child's doctor to help control your child's asthma. The AAP documents what asthma medications your child is prescribed and when it is appropriate to give these medications. The AAP will serve as a guide in managing your child's asthma both long term and during times when your child is experiencing worsening asthma symptoms or asthma attacks. The plan will also assist in determining when it is appropriate to contact your child's doctor or get immediate medical assistance.

The AAP consists of three zones: green zone, yellow zone, and red zone. These zones represent what asthma signs your child may be displaying or a fluctuation in your child's peak flow (PF) reading. The PF reading is taken using a Peak Flow Meter (PFM). A PFM is an early detection device that your child's doctor may give you to help monitor your child's asthma.

The green zone represents no asthma signs. Examples of the green zone include, but are not limited to, your child's breathing is good, there is no cough or wheeze, or your child's PF reading is 80-100 percent of predicted normal or personal best. The yellow zone represents caution signs. Examples of the yellow zone include, but are not limited to, your child's coughing does not stop, your child has mild wheezing, or your child's PF reading is 50-79 percent of predicted normal or personal best. The red zone represents danger signs. Examples of the red zone include, but are not limited to, your child is breathing hard and fast, your child's ribs are showing during breathing, or your child's PF reading is blow 50 percent of predicted normal or personal best. The zone that your child is in will determine which medication(s) should be given, how frequently to give them, and if medical assistance is needed.

It is important to follow up with your child's doctor regularly and update your child's AAP when any changes are made concerning your child's asthma. This includes changes in prescribed medications and changes in peak flows. Sending your child to school with an updated AAP will help to get your child off to a great start. The AAP will serve as a guide in assisting the school nurse in managing your child's asthma when you are not available. To receive further information, contact the Seton Asthma Center at (512) 324-3320.

Resources

Asthma
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