Know your signs

Take action to control your asthma

May 13, 2022

When your airways are constricted from asthma, you experience shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing and coughing. An asthma attack can be unsettling, but having an asthma action plan can help you keep your asthma under control. 

About 25 million people in the U.S. have asthma. It’s more common in boys than girls, but more women are likely to die from it than men. That’s why it’s important to work with your provider to know your asthma zones and create the best asthma action plan for your health.

Download our asthma toolkit to learn more about managing asthma and its triggers. 

What each asthma zone means

When you’re in the “Green Zone,” you’re doing well. You should:

  • have no coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing.
  • be able to work, play, exercise or do your everyday activities with no symptoms.
  • have a peak-flow reading of 80 to 100% of your personal best. 

When you’re in the “Yellow Zone,” you should take caution. This means you are:

  • coughing, wheezing, feeling tightness in your chest or having difficulty breathing.
  • able to do some, but not all, usual activities.
  • waking up at night due to asthma.
  • getting 50% to 79% of your personal best when you use your peak-flow meter.

When you’re in the “Red Zone,” contact your provider immediately. This means you are:

If you cannot reach your provider, go to the nearest emergency department or call 911.
  • very short of breath.
  • having problems walking or talking due to asthma symptoms.
  • not responding to quick-relief medicines.
  • experiencing symptoms that are the same or getting worse after 24 hours in the “Yellow Zone”.
  • getting a peak-flow reading of less than 50% of your personal best.


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