What Should I Do If I Think Im Having An Asthma Attack
Stay calm and use your inhaler with the spacer. If you can, check your peak flow to see how bad the attack is. If you have a nebulizer, use this instead of an inhaler. If your breathing gets easier after using your medicine, you may still want to call your doctor to discuss follow-up or other treatments. Make sure your family knows what to do if you have an asthma attack.
When To Call 999
Dont delay getting help if you have an asthma attack. Call 999 if your reliever isnt helping, or lasting four hours, or youre worried at any time.
An asthma attack is a real emergency, and could be life-threatening, says Asthma + Lung UKs in-house GP, Dr Andy Whittamore.
Getting help when you need it is so important, to make sure youre treated quickly. Never think youre wasting anyones time.
What Are The Two Main Types Of Bronchodilator Medicines
There are beta 2-agonists and anticholinergics.
Short-acting beta 2-agonists
In inhaled forms, these medications include:
- Albuterol .
- Levalbuterol .
- Albuterol and ipratropium bromide combination .
Short-acting beta 2-agonists are called “reliever” or “rescue” medicines because they stop asthma symptoms very quickly by opening the airways. These are the best medications for treating sudden and severe or new asthma symptoms. They work within 15 to 20 minutes and last four to six hours. They are also the medicines to use 15 to 20 minutes before exercise to prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms. If you need to use your short-acting beta 2-agonists more than twice per week, talk to your doctor. This is a sign of unstable asthma and your doctor may want to change the dose of the long-term control medicines you take.
Long-acting beta-2 agonists
These medications include:
- Salmeterol .
- Formoterol .
- Combination medications: salmeterol and fluticasone formoterol and budesonide formoterol and mometasone vilanterol and fluticasone salmeterol and fluticasone and salmeterol and fluticasone . These contain both the long-acting beta agonist and an inhaled corticosteroid.
Side effects of beta 2-agonists include:
- Nervous or shaky feeling.
- Upset stomach .
- Trouble sleeping .
Side effects of anticholinergic drugs are minor. The most common side effect is dry throat. If the medicine gets in your eyes, it might cause blurred vision for a short period of time.
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Why Asthma Management Is Important
Medication is essential to manage asthma well. Good asthma care also involves treating other conditions that can affect asthma, such as hay fever.
A healthy lifestyle can help you stay in control of your asthma symptoms and feel well.With good asthma management, you can lead a normal, active life. Following your personal written asthma action plan, developed with your doctor, is the best way to keep your asthma under control.
An action plan provides simple instructions for routinely managing your asthma, plus advice on what to do if your asthma symptoms flare up.The main aims of asthma treatment are to:
- keep symptoms under control
- keep lungs as healthy as possible
- stop asthma from interfering with school or work
- help you or your child enjoy a full and active life.
Does It Work Like An Inhaler
The concept of an inhaler and a nebulizer is the same. They both work to deliver treatment directly into the lungs. In terms of function, a portable nebulizer works similarly to an inhaler. However, some differences in usage differentiate the two.
The most common type of inhaler involves inhaling a given amount of medication using a mouthpiece. The spacers in inhalers make it easy for patients to inhale the required amount of medication.
The main difference between an inhaler and a nebulizer is that a nebulizer is easier to use. It delivers medication easier compared to an inhaler. However, the user has to sit still for about 10 minutes for the medication to be dispensed.
Whilst there are portable nebulizers, they are relatively larger than inhalers, thus, making them difficult to carry around.
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During An Asthma Attack
In a sudden asthma attack you can use your inhaler more and take up to 10 puffs. Wait 30 seconds and always shake the inhaler between doses. You can repeat this dose 10 minutes later.
Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A& E now if you or your child:
- are struggling to breathe
- have asthma symptoms that are not getting better
Asthma attacks can get worse very quickly.
For treating severe asthma attacks, salbutamol can be given through a nebuliser. A nebuliser is a machine that delivers the medicine as a mist inhaled through a face mask. This will probably be given to you by your doctor.
Other Asthma First Aid Directions
Not everyone with asthma uses the same reliever medication.
Some people use a different blue reliever called Bricanyl which comes in a different type of inhaler called a Turbuhaler.
Other people use a dual-purpose reliever. A dual-purpose reliever contains budesonide and formoterol together, and is used as-needed.
The combination of budesonide and formoterol in the dual-purpose reliever, when used as-needed, relieves symptoms and reduces risk of experiencing serious asthma flare-ups. It does this by relaxing tight airway muscles and treating inflammation in the airways.
Note: you may also be prescribed these medicines as a preventer. Always follow your doctors instructions on your asthma action plan about what to use in an asthma flare-up or asthma attack.
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Watch How To Help Someone Who Is Having An Asthma Attack
What is asthma?
Asthma is a medical condition that affects the airways the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. When someone has an asthma attack, these tubes become narrowed, making it difficult to breathe in and out.
How can I tell if someone is having an asthma attack?
People with asthma should be able to let you know if they are having an attack.
Someone having an asthma attack will have difficulty breathing and speaking, and may cough and wheeze. They may be very anxious and distressed as they struggle to breathe.In some cases, their lips, earlobes and nail beds may turn greyish-blue because there isnt enough oxygen in their body.
What sort of medication will someone with asthma use?
Someone who has asthma will normally have an inhaler that their doctor has prescribed. They may also have a spacer, which makes the inhaler more effective.
If someone is having an asthma attack they should know how to use their inhaler and spacer but they may need your help in finding them.
What does an inhaler look like?
Inhalers can come in many different sizes and shapes. Inhalers to relieve asthma attacks are usually blue. Inhalers that prevent asthma attacks may be brown or white.
How do you use an inhaler?
If a person has asthma they should know how to use their inhaler, they may need your help getting it for them. They should take it as normal. If that doesnt help they can take one or two puffs every 30 or 60 seconds until theyve had 10 puffs.
How Can You Help Treat Someone Having An Asthma Attack
The key to preventing a severe asthma attack is to spot symptoms early and treat the flare-up as soon as possible. Your ability to treat someone depends on what supplies you have.
In some cases, it may be possible to help treat someone having an asthma attack. Keep in mind that you should not share medication or give someone something that is not prescribed for them. But if someone has their fast-acting medication, such as albuterol or their rescue inhaler, you can help them take it.
When someone is having an asthma attack, they may become anxious. They may require help setting up their nebulizer, including placing the medication.
If the person has their inhaler, you can help prime it and get it ready for use. This includes shaking the inhaler and attaching an aero chamber if the fast-acting inhaler is a metered-dose inhaler. If you are helping a child or someone who cannot use an aero chamber correctly, consider using the mask that attaches to the chamber. The mask is placed over the persons mouth and nose before pressing the inhaler.
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Preventer Medication For Asthma
Preventer medication makes the airways less sensitive and reduces inflammation and swelling. It needs to be taken as prescribed, over the long term, to be most effective in reducing the risk and severity of any flare-ups.Most preventer medication for asthma is inhaled corticosteroid. Because the medication goes straight to your lungs where it is needed, the risk of side effects from taking inhaled steroids is very low.
Most adults with asthma can achieve good control of their asthma symptoms with a low dose of inhaled corticosteroid.
Asthma Lifestyle Home Remedies
In addition to following your treatment plan, you can try:
- Breathing exercises. These can lower the amount of medication you need to control your symptoms.
- Herbal and natural remedies. Things that may help improve asthma symptoms include:
- Black seed oil . Some studies have shown that it can help open airways.
- Caffeine. Itâs a mild bronchodilator, meaning it can open your airways, but it doesnât work as fast as medications. Avoid caffeine for several hours before any medical appointment that might include a lung function test.
- Choline. This helps your body work the way it should. You can get it in meat, liver, eggs, poultry, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and cauliflower, or from a supplement.
- Pycnogenol. You can get this pine bark extract as a supplement.
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When Is It An Asthma Emergency
- Your symptoms get worse very quickly
- You have severe shortness of breath, cant speak comfortably or lips look blue
- You get little or no relief from your reliever inhaler
Dial 000Say this is an ASTHMA EMERGENCY
Not sure if it’s asthma?
If a person stays conscious and their main problem seems to be breathing, follow the asthma first aid steps. Asthma reliever medicine is unlikely to harm them even if they do not have asthma.
If someone is unconscious, start life support.
Severe Allergic Reactions/Anaphylaxis
If someone has sudden breathing problems AND they are allergic to foods, insect stings or medicines:
Give adrenaline first. Use their own autoinjector if available.
Do this even if there are no other signs or symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.
Then follow the asthma first aid steps.
Will I Have To Take Medicine All The Time
Maybe not. Asthma is a chronic condition that is controllable. Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma. For that reason, you may have asthma symptoms when exposed to triggers. This is the case even if you dont have symptoms very often. Your triggers can change over time, and your treatment will depend on two things: how severe your asthma is, and how often you have symptoms. If your asthma is controlled, your treatment will focus on managing symptoms and treatment of episodes when they happen.
If your symptoms happen at certain times and you know what caused them, you and your doctor can use this information to determine the best treatment. If, for example, you have seasonal asthma because of a specific pollen allergy, you may take medicines only when that pollen is in the air. But asthma that specific is not common. Many people with asthma take some form of medicine most or all of the time.
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Diagnosing Asthma In Older People
Older people are more likely to have other lung diseases that also cause shortness of breath , so doctors have to determine how much of the persons breathing difficulty is related to asthma and reversible with the appropriate anti-asthma therapy. Often, in these people diagnosis involves a brief trial of drugs that are used to treat asthma to see whether the persons condition improves.
Treating An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler
Often there is alternative treatment that is available for management of an asthma attack without the use of inhalers. Here are some simple tips that might be beneficial,
- Identify and keep a track of the factors that are responsible for an asthma attack. Avoid these factors at all time.
- Prepare a makeshift spacer using a paper cup or a plastic bottle. Make a small hole at the lower end of the bottle and push an aerosol mouthpiece into it. Place the cup over your mouth and puff using the inhaler.
- Homeopathic drugs like Causticum and Natrum Sulph are considered beneficial in the management of acute episodes of asthma. Try to keep these drugs handy.
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What Other Tools Can I Use For Monitoring Asthma Control
Peak Flow Meter
Sometimes doctors recommend a peak flow meter a handheld device that measures how well air moves out of your lungs. A peak flow meter, when used every day, can spot reduced airflow before you notice the signs and symptoms of an asthma episode.
Peak flow meter readings can help you monitor your asthma control. But they are just one tool. Your peak flow meter reading is not the only indicator of asthma control. Always follow your Asthma Action Plan.
Doctors use pulse oximeters to measure how much oxygen your blood is carrying. Some people with asthma may experience a drop in their oxygen levels in their blood.
Pulse oximeters you can buy online and use at home are not as accurate as medical grade devices. Monitoring your blood oxygen levels with pulse oximeters is not a recommended part of home management of asthma.
Lung Function Tests
Your allergist or pulmonologist may use different lung function tests to assess your asthma control. Learn more about the tests used to diagnose and monitor asthma.
Review Of The Best Asthma Inhaler Brands
Asthma sufferers often stick to one type of inhaler without ever considering any other asthma inhaler brands. Each brand delivers a different approach to managing asthma. There are both short term and long-term asthma inhaler brands, designed to either bring immediate relief or to prevent attacks from occurring over an extended period.
Here weâll be looking at both short-acting and long-acting asthma inhaler brands so that you know exactly what all your options are.
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Can I Get An Asthma Inhaler Over The Counter
There is no shortcut method to treating asthma, but if quick relief is needed, there are OTC options available.
Primatene Mist is the only FDA-approved over-the-counter metered-dose inhaler. Primatene mist is indicated for mild symptoms of intermittent asthma.
Although over the counter asthma inhalers are available, experts say that they are not the best option for asthma.
However, some people choose this route due to lack of insurance or for quick relief.
PlushCare offers telehealth visits, even if you do not have insurance at an affordable cost, so you can get a prescription inhaler whenever you need it.
Why Might Someone With Asthma Be Without An Inhaler
However, this doesnt mean that everyone with asthma has an inhaler with them at all times. Often when someone has been living without symptoms for a long time, they may assume that their asthma has gone, and so get out of the habit of carrying one. Some people might develop symptoms suddenly for the first time as an adult, with no preparation. Others might just sometimes forget. Unfortunately, not having an inhaler wont stop an attack.
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Can I Recycle My Asthma Inhaler
Posted by Heidi Lang.
If you want to know if you can recycle your asthma inhaler, then the simple answer to is yes thanks to the Complete the Cycle scheme.
Available in many local pharmacies and GP surgeries, Complete the Cycle is the first national recycling and recovery scheme for respiratory inhalers. With over 73 million respiratory inhalers being prescribed every year in the UK, Glaxo Smithkline and decided that they needed to set up a solution to the potential environmental impact of disposing of inhalers.
Since it was set up in 2011, over 1.2 million asthma inhalers have been recycled and recovered. This has saved carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 5,199 cars off UK roads.
What Are Some Common Asthma Triggers
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some of the most common asthma triggers include:
- Dust, cockroach waste, pet dander, indoor and outdoor mold, and pollen.
- Air pollutants, such as smoke, perfumes, diesel particles, sulfur dioxide, high ozone levels, and fumes from paint, cleaning products, and gas stoves.
- Changes in the weather, especially in temperature and humidity.
- Tobacco smoke.
But have you talked about what you should do to manage a minor asthma attack if you forget your asthma inhaler? Knowing how to restore natural breathing and survive an asthma attack without your inhaler is an essential life-saving skill.
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What Medications Can Help With Asthma
Asthma attacks, airway inflammation, and other issues can be controlled or prevented in many cases. Certain medications can be taken every day, like inhaled corticosteroids and leukotriene modifiers. These can help a child live more easily with their asthma and live a more active life. Of course, rescue inhalers will help too, and can be vital for a child.
For Severe Asthma Attacks
In most cases for mild and moderate asthma attacks, you will be able to provide first aid to the patient without the assistance of a medical professional. However, its important that you remember if your patient is suffering a severe asthma attack they need urgent medical care and Triple Zero must be called. A severe asthma attack usually presents with the following symptoms:
- Worsening of regular symptoms over short time
- Severe shortness of breath
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