How To Help In An Asthma Attack
If someone is having an asthma attack, always follow the instructions outlined on their medication. However, if they do not have them to hand, these are the steps to follow. These guidelines are suitable for both children and adults.
Be calm and reassuring as reducing the stress and keeping the casualty calm really helps them to control their symptoms. Panic can increase the severity of an attack. Take one to two puffs of the reliever inhaler , immediately using a spacer device if available.
- Stay as calm as you can and encourage them to stay calm too
- Sit them down, loosen any tight clothing and encourage them to take slow, steady breaths.
- If they do not start to feel better, they should take more puffs of their reliever inhaler
- If they do not start to feel better after taking their inhaler as above, or if you are worried at any time, call 999/112.
- They should keep taking the reliever inhaler whilst waiting for the paramedics to arrive
- If the person has been prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector and you suspect the asthma attack may be due to an allergic reaction and the reliever inhaler is not working administer the AAI. Five this injection into the upper, outer part of their thigh according to the instructions. If worried in any way, check with the emergency services and keep them informed and updated as to the casualtys condition.
DO NOT take them outside for fresh air if it is cold as cold air makes symptoms worse.
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Get Help For Special Concerns
Special things to think about in treating asthma include:
- Managing exercise-induced asthma. Exercise often causes asthma symptoms. Steps you and your child can take to reduce the risk of this include using medicine immediately before exercising.
- Managing asthma before surgery. Children with moderate to severe asthma are at higher risk of having problems during and after surgery than children who do not have asthma. Before any surgery is done, make sure your childâs surgeon knows that your child has asthma.
- Taking care of other health problems. If your child also has other health problems, such as inflammation and infection of the sinuses or gastroesophageal reflux disease , he or she will need treatment for those conditions.
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It is no secret that smoking can aggravate asthma symptoms. In the US and UK, around 17-35% of asthmatics smoke despite the fact it can trigger attacks. If you are part of the smoking asthmatic population, then you might be looking to quit.
You may be considering vaping to help you ditch the fags. However, you need to consider how vaping with asthma may affect you.
In this blog, we answer some of your most asked questions on vaping with asthma to help you make an informed decision on your quit smoking methods.
We will also share some notes on passive smoking, so if you are reading this in the hope of learning more about keeping family members suffering from asthma free from attacks, we cover this too.
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Signs You Actually Have Severe Asthma
Breathing is just one of those things you take for granted until it feels like every inhale or exhale is a struggle. Unfortunately, people with severe asthma have to deal with breathing issues way more often than anyone should, and it can be completely terrifying.
Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects the airways that extend from your nose and mouth to your lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When youre exposed to triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, exercise, and respiratory infections, these airways can narrow, restricting your airflow. This can then make the muscles surrounding your airways constrict, making it even harder to breathe, and cause your airways to produce more mucus than normal, further compounding the problem. All together, this can lead to asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing , and chest tightness or pain, according to the NHLBI.
Like most health conditions, asthma severity runs along a spectrum, Emily Pennington, M.D., a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. Some people have cases where they experience minor symptoms here and there . Others can have asthma that is basically an ever-present problem and might result in scary asthma attacks, which is when symptoms ramp up in severity and can even become life-threatening.
Symptoms After An Asthma Attack
How you feel after an asthma attack will depend on how severe the attack was and what triggered it.
If the attack was triggered by an irritant, such as cold weather, pollutants or allergens such as pollen, animal fur or dust, you should recover relatively quickly.
If your asthma attack was caused by an infection, such an upper airway infection, then it might take longer for you to recover. You may have symptoms such as fatigue and exhaustion after your asthma attack.
Do follow any recovery guidance given to you by a doctor or medical professional. Rest, drink plenty of fluids, take your medication and attend any necessary follow-up appointments.
If you havent seen your doctor or asthma nurse for a routine appointment recently, book one as soon as possible.
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How Vaping Affects Asthma Symptoms
As stated above, vaping is still relatively new, and it will take some time to find out exactly what kinds of long-term effects it might have on a persons body. More evidence is needed in order to establish how vaping works with asthma too, but we can still look at the results from several key studies.
One 2018 study took a look at the effects of both regular cigarettes and electronic cigarettes on people with respiratory and cardiac issues. The study found that people who smoked or vaped tended to have more difficulty breathing. So it can be deduced that those who vape and suffer from asthma may find that their symptoms could intensify.
Another possible issue that may arise when vaping with asthma is inflammation in the respiratory passages. One 2014 study looked at e-cigarette effects on mice, finding that their airways were negatively affected by the exposure. Its worth noting, however, that there more studies are needed, including human studies, in order to verify the conclusions.
Asthma is something of a mysterious condition. The exact cause of it hasnt yet been discovered, and a lot of research has been carried out over the years to try and find out more. Certain studies have looked at groups of people who vape to see whether they are more likely to develop asthma later in life. But results have been inconclusive so far, with no study proving that vaping causes asthma.
Adult Phenotypes Of Asthma
Late Onset Eosinophilic
Characterized by both clinical and biologic features of later onset, predominately female, and elevated sputum and serum eosinophils. Late-onset eosinophilic asthma is defined clinically by adult-onset, severe disease and is associated with sinusitis and less allergic sensitization compared to early onset disease. Biologically patients have increased IL-5 and IL-13 in the airways and elevated eosinophils in the sputum and serum . No cut off for sputum and serum eosinophils have been universally agreed upon however it is generally accepted that a sputum eosinophil count of > 2% or a serum eosinophil count of > 300 cells/uL indicates eosinophilic asthma . Despite a high prevalence of positive skin prick tests this form of asthma appears to be less allergic but is often associated with sinusitis, nasal polyps, and aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease . A family history of asthma is seen less frequently than those with early onset asthma . This type of asthma can be relatively steroid resistant but biologic therapies targeting T2 pathways have been shown to be highly effective in this group of patients .
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Real Life Story On Vaping With Asthma
We had a chat with an asthmatic ex smoker, and now ex vaper, about how he found his symptoms through smoking and vaping.
Smoking made my asthma much worse. I got wheezy a lot sometimes just from walking around. Also I found when I got a cold I would get awful chesty coughs which also made me super wheezy with my asthma. Never had that again since quitting cigarettes. I was an idiot for smoking.”
We then asked about vaping and whether that was better.
I vaped for 4 years and it wasnt so bad for aggravating my asthma symptoms but I never did the big lung filling, cloud chase vaping. I used an MTL kit with small throat hits. I did have a problem with menthol liquid which made me wheezy. My inhaler use dropped significantly compared to when I was smoking.
Learn To Recognize Symptoms
It is important to recognize the early warning signs of an asthma attack and treat them right away. Appropriate management early on may prevent a trip to the emergency room or keep you out of the hospital.
Early warning signs of worsening asthma and an impending asthma attack include:
- A drop in peak expiratory flow rate
- Increased cough/chronic cough
- Some difficulty performing normal daily activities
- Individual factors noticed over time that indicate worsening asthma or an asthma attack
These symptoms are likely to be listed in the yellow zone of your asthma action plan, so you should deal with them accordingly. This may mean taking extra doses of rescue medication and starting a course of oral corticosteroids.
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What Is The Best Way To Live With Asthma
The key to good living with asthma is developing a strong partnership between patients, caregivers, and physicians. Practical steps include the following:
Make an asthma care management plan with your physician. An asthma management plan helps you understand what to do when specific situations arise. Each time you visit the physician, talk about your plan, and make any necessary changes.
Educate yourself. Stay informed about the latest developments in asthma and allergy care and treatment. Ask your physician about new medications or research findings that may relate to your care.
Get regular medical care. If you have asthma, you should see your physician at least once a year, even if your symptoms are under control. When you become sick, or if you have significant changes in your health, you should also talk with your physician about how your asthma could be affected.
Take your medicine. Your asthma medications will make you feel better and sometimes people think thats the time to stop. Its not! Use your medications as prescribed.
With good management, asthma symptoms can be controlled. Most people who develop adult onset asthma are able to lead normal lives. Expect success!
Avoid Upper Respiratory Infections
- Avoid contact with other people who are ill. If there is an ill child in the home, separate him or her from other children, if possible.
- If you have a respiratory infection, such as a cold or the flu, or if you are caring for someone with a respiratory infection, wash your hands before and after caring for this person.
- Do not smoke. Second-hand smoke irritates the mucous membranes in your childs nose, sinuses, and lungs and increases his or her risk for respiratory infections.
- Children who have asthma and their family members should get an influenza vaccine every year.
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How Is Asthma Treated In A Child
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Your childs healthcare provider may refer you to a pulmonologist. This is a doctor with special training to treat lung conditions. Your child may also be referred to an asthma and allergy specialist. This is a doctor with special training in treating both asthma and allergies. Your childs treatment is based on how severe the symptoms are and how easily they are controlled. Treatment includes finding triggers and ways to stay away from them. It will also include medicines.
Asthma medicines include:
Bronchodilators. These medicines are used to help open the narrowed airways. They may ease coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing.
Anti-inflammatory medicines . These medicines help ease the inflammation in the airways.
Anti-leukotrienes. These medicines help decrease the narrowing of the airways. These are often given by mouth. They are often used to treat mild symptoms.
Allergy shots . This can be used to decrease allergies to environmental triggers such as dust, pollen, or animal allergies that can trigger asthma flares in some people.
Biologic medicines. These are injected medicines used for certain types of severe asthma. They are available for children age 6 and older.
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What Is An Asthma Attack
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs. During an asthma attack, the airways become narrower than normal and can cause difficulty breathing.
The severity of an asthma attack can range from mild to very serious. Some asthma attacks may require prompt medical attention.
The preferred way of treating an asthma attack is to use a rescue inhaler, which contains medication that expands your airways.
But what if youre having an asthma attack and dont have your rescue inhaler available? There are several things that you can do while you wait for your symptoms to subside or for medical attention. Read on to learn more.
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Can Smoking Cause Cancer
There is no evidence to suggest that smoking directly causes asthma. However, there is research and anecdotal evidence to show that a smoking habit makes asthma worse. Here are some of the ways it can aggravate asthma:
- Smoking triggers mucus production in the lungs, which leads to coughing.
- The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage lung tissue.
- Particles in tobacco smoke irritate and settle in the lining of the airways, causing them to swell and become narrow. This leads to wheeziness and chest tightness.
- Tobacco smoke damages tiny hair-like structures in the airways called cilia, which sweep dust and mucus out of the airways. This means dust and mucus accumulate in airways, aggravating your asthma.
- Lung damage caused by smoking makes your asthma less responsive to medication.
So Can I Vape With Asthma
There is nothing stopping you from vaping with asthma. However, it may aggravate your symptoms, but no more than smoking.
Vaping is also a safer option than smoking and less likely to cause conditions that smoking is known too.
If you are concerned about vaping with asthma, then have a chat with your healthcare provider who will be able to advise you.
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What Causes Asthma In Infants And Toddlers
We still do not know what causes some people to get asthma. If a child has a family history of asthma or allergies, a specific allergy or had a mother who smoked during pregnancy, they have a higher chance of getting asthma early in life.
A respiratory virus, an illness that occurs in the lungs, is one of the most common causes of asthma symptoms in children 5 years old and younger. Although both adults and children experience respiratory infections, children have more of them. Some preschool children get viral infections often. At least half of children with asthma show some sign of it before the age of 5. Viruses are the most common cause of acute asthma episodes in infants 6 months old or younger.
Emergencies And Your Asthma Action Plan
You and your doctor need to create an asthma action plan that details what to do when you are in different zones green, yellow, or red:
- Green zone: You are free of symptoms and can do your usual activities. Peak flow readings are 80% to 100% of your personal best. Youre doing well. If you use daily control medicine, you should take it as usual.
- Yellow zone: You have symptoms of asthma. Or your peak flow readings are between 50% and 80% of your personal best. Your asthma is worsening. You may need medicine to prevent a more serious asthma attack.
- Red zone: You have symptoms of an asthma emergency. Peak flow readings are 50% or lower of your personal best. You are having a severe attack and need asthma emergency treatment.
Most important, your written asthma action plan spells out what you should do in an asthma emergency.
Since every persons asthma is different, you need to have a custom-tailored asthma emergency treatment plan.
Your plan might include the following steps:
- Use your emergency inhaler as prescribed.
- Take a peak flow reading if you can.
- Get to an emergency room or call 911.
Dont delay. Waiting too long to get asthma emergency treatment can be deadly.
An asthma action plan should also include:
- Your name
- The name and number of your family doctor
- The name and number of your local hospital
- Your personal best peak flow meter reading
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