Asthma Action Plan: Yellow Zone
British Columbia Specific Information
Asthma is a common chronic condition that causes your airway to narrow and swell. You may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing, and wheezing. Symptoms may range from being mildly annoying to deadly. For this reason it is important to speak with a health care provider if you think you may have asthma.
For more information about asthma, visit the Asthma Society of Canada or the BC Lung Association or call the Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-566-LUNG(5864). You may also call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The yellow zone may mean that you are having an asthma attack or that your medicine needs to be increased.
When symptoms are present, they may be mild to moderate, or they may keep you from your usual activities or disturb your sleep. Symptoms can include:
- Coughing and wheezing.
- Feeling short of breath and having chest tightness. (Children may express chest tightness as a stomach ache.)
In the yellow zone, your peak expiratory flow is 50% to 80% of your personal best peak flow measurement. To find 80% of your personal best, multiply your personal best measurement by 0.80. For example, if your personal best flow is 400, then 80% of that is 400 times 0.80, which is 320. And 50% of your personal best would be 400 times 0.50, which is 200. In this example, the yellow zone would be any value from 200 to 320. You may not have any symptoms, but your lung function is reduced.
Treatment for symptoms in the yellow zone includes the following:
- Take your medicine according to your asthma action plan.
- If symptoms do not improve within 20 to 60 minutes and/or your peak expiratory flow remains less than 70% of your personal best measurement, follow the red zone instructions of your asthma action plan, because your lungs are not responding to medicine.
If you keep going into the yellow zone from the green zone, talk with your doctor. Your regular medicine may need to be changed.
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Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lora J. Stewart, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Current as ofAugust 21, 2015
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