When you make an appointment with your primary physician and the asthma nurse educator, you will receive a personalized asthma care plan for your child during that appointment. The purpose of this plan is to guide you in caring for your child and his/her asthma during asthma flares as well as, times when your child has no symptoms.
Each asthma care plan is divided into green, yellow and red zones. This simply helps us to classify the care needed. The green zone is “Good” or much like a “Green” traffic light; your child is without asthma symptoms and able to do everything every child should do without any asthma symptoms. This is the goal for all of our asthma children! Many children will need to be on low dose maintenance medicine to remain in the green zone.
Yellow is equivalent to a “Caution” or “Yellow” traffic light. Your child is beginning to show signs of an asthma flare and treatment needs to be adjusted. Your child may be starting to cough, wheeze or become short of breath. Possibly your child will stop playing in his/her usual manner because he/she can’t get their breath. This is a critical zone; if treatment is not initiated quickly or properly, your child may remain in the yellow zone for a prolonged period of time or may even slip down into the red zone. Identifying your child’s triggers will help you in preventing a long yellow zone visit. Perhaps a cold or illness will initiate a move from the green zone to the yellow zone.
The red zone is much like the “Stop” light. At this level, symptoms are so severe that you will need to STOP all that you are doing and get treatment for your child. This may mean an emergent or urgent visit to the hospital. Your child may be coughing all of the time, have difficulty breathing, not be able to talk in full sentences or not be able to walk or play because he/she isn’t getting enough oxygen. This may be life-threatening. It is okay to call an ambulance if you are concerned for your child’s safety.
During your appointment, the asthma nurse educator will review your child’s asthma care plan thoroughly with you. Your child’s asthma care plan will be updated at each visit as we assess his/her asthma. Don’t get discouraged! Each child is different and has different triggers for you and your family to identify. It may also take awhile to find the perfect combination of medicines to best treat your child’s asthma. Our goal is to work together with you and your child for optimal health!