How to build or update your asthma or COPD action plan during COVID-19

If you have asthma or COPD, it’s important for the people in your life to know the steps they need to take if you experience symptoms. This is particularly important during COVID-19, when healthcare resources are stretched thin. Luckily, the answer is simple:

Create an Asthma or COPD Action Plan, which is a written, individualized worksheet that describes the steps to take to keep your condition from getting worse.

An Asthma or COPD Action Plan looks something like this image, and is divided into three zones: green, yellow and red.

The green zone is where you want to be on a daily basis. In this zone, you have no symptoms, you feel good, and your only action is to keep taking your controller medication to prevent symptoms.

The yellow zone means you are experiencing symptoms. In this zone, you should slow down and follow the steps listed, potentially including the use of your rescue inhaler to mitigate symptoms. 

The red zone means you are experiencing severe symptoms, and should follow the steps listed to get immediate medical treatment if your symptoms do not improve.

The Action Plan also contains the following information to help manage your symptoms. 

  • A list of factors that make your asthma or COPD worse
  • Medicines you take to treat your asthma or COPD, with the specific names of each medicine
  • Symptoms that indicate worsening asthma or COPD
  • Symptoms that indicate the need for urgent medication attention
  • Telephone numbers for an emergency contact, your healthcare provider, and your local hospital 

If you don’t have an Asthma or COPD Action Plan, you can download one for asthma or COPD from the American Lung Association. It’s recommended that you complete your action plan with your physician, which you may be able to do over the phone during COVID-19 distancing. 

Your plan should be discussed at each physician visit and updated as needed. 

If you have questions about your health or you’re not feeling well, contact your healthcare provider by phone or visit their website to determine whether you should be seen in-person.

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