Levels of asthma

Download the asthma care plan (PDF).

What are the different levels of asthma?

As determined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the following is a guideline used by physicians to help determine the extent of asthma in your child. It is classified as "steps," because each child may step up or step down to different levels at any time.

The steps are as follows:

  • Step 1 or mild intermittent asthma - This group of children has symptoms less than two times a week, do not have problems in-between flare-ups, and only have short flare-ups from a few hours to a few days. Nighttime symptoms occur less than two times a month.
  • Step 2 or mild persistent - This group of children has symptoms more than two times a week, but no more than one time per day, and may have activity levels affected by the flare-ups. Nighttime symptoms occur greater than two times a month.
  • Step 3 or moderate persistent - This group of children has symptoms every day, use their rescue medication every day, may have activity levels affected by the flare-ups, and have exacerbations greater than or equal to two times a week. Nighttime symptoms occur greater that one time a week.
  • Step 4 or severe persistent - This group of children has symptoms constantly, have a decrease in their physical activity, and have frequent flare-ups. Nighttime symptoms occur frequently.