Practical Home Treatment for Asthmatic Children

Developing a red, yellow, and green plan: This is best done together with your doctor. The purpose is to develop a plan for each range of your child's peak flow.

The green zone: The green zone is defined as 100 percent of the PFmax to 80 percent of the PFmax. For example, if your child's peak flow is 400, his green zone is 400 to 320. Set a plan with your doctor for this range.

  • The green zone is usually smooth sailing, so I usually have my patients use occasional albuterol treatments (inhalers) and any prevention medicines that they use regularly. The plan will differ depending on the severity of the child's asthma, so discuss the plan with your doctor.

The yellow zone: This is the caution zone and is probably the most important zone. It is defined as 80 to 50 percent of the PFmax.

  • Using our example above, the yellow zone is 200 to 320.
  • Set a careful plan with your doctor. How often should you do the albuterol treatments? Should you increase your maintenance/prevention medicines? Are there other medicines you should start? How long should you wait to come in? When should you call your doctor?
  • You can also let your doctor know that your child is in the yellow zone and how he responds to the treatments that you give him. For example, "My child has been in the yellow zone for two days, but improves to the green zone after his albuterol treatment."

The red zone: This zone means trouble. The red zone is defined as less than 50 percent of the PFmax.

  • Using our example, the red zone is less than 200.
  • Take your child to the doctor as soon as possible. Contact your doctor or go to an emergency room. Discuss this plan with your doctor before it happens, so you know what to do. Don't panic! Just take action!
  • To save yourself a trip, make sure that your child is doing the peak flow properly.
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