Your COPD Action Plan
Have you ever had a day when you were coughing more than usual? Or you just had less energy? These can signal a COPD flare-up. By recognizing signs of trouble, you can prevent serious problems. A COPD action plan can help—it tells you exactly what to do when your symptoms act up.
What's an action plan?
An action plan is a written document created by you and your doctor. It lists the symptoms you may have and tells you what to do. The American Lung Association's (ALA) action plan addresses three "zones":
Green zone. These are days when you are doing well. Along with your usual symptoms, the plan lists the daily medicines and other activities your doctor has approved, like regular exercise.
Yellow zone. Your symptoms are worse than usual. The plan lists signs of trouble to watch for, such as thicker mucus or coughing more than usual. It tells you when to use quick-relief medicine and other steps to take so that your symptoms don't get worse.
Red zone. Your symptoms are severe. Your plan lists the signs of a serious problem, such as severe breathlessness, fever, or coughing up excessive mucus or blood. It tells you what medicine to take, how much oxygen to use, and when to seek urgent medical care.
Don't wait, make a plan
You can get an action plan form by going to the ALA website. Click on "Lung Disease," then "COPD," then "COPD Management Tools," then "My COPD Action/Management Plan." Why not ask your doctor to fill it out with you at your next visit? Having a written plan will give you the green light for peace of mind.