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How Do You Know If You Have Asthma Attack

Humidifiers And Air Filters

Know the symptoms of an asthma attack to save a life

Wheezing can be triggered and exacerbated by low humidity and airborne particles that cause constriction of the bronchioles. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, particularly during winter months, and can aid with sleep by reducing mouth and nasal dryness .

Some humidifiers are equipped with HEPA filters that can remove pollen, dust, and other irritants from the air. Alternatively, you can buy a separate multifilter air purifier equipped with both a HEPA filter and an activated charcoal filter.

Choose an air purifier thats the appropriate size for the room it will be used in and has a fine particle rating of 2.5 , meaning it can remove some of the finest airborne particles.

Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

Seasonal colds and cases of the flu may increase your risk of developing a URTI. People with asthma are also more prone to these types of infections.

But having a URTI doesnt automatically mean you have asthma. While both conditions may lead to coughing, a URTI can also result in the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • fatigue

When Should You Call A Doctor For An Asthma Attack

If you think you or your child may have asthma, make an appointment with your health care provider. Some clues pointing to asthma include the following:

  • wheezing,
  • pain or tightness in your chest, and
  • recurrent, spasmodic that is worse at night.

If you or your child has asthma, you should have an asthma action plan worked out in advance with your health care provider. This plan should include instructions on what to do when an asthma attack occurs, when to call the health care provider, and when to go to a hospital emergency department. The following are general guidelines only. If your provider recommends another plan for you, follow that plan.

  • Take two puffs of an inhaled beta-agonist , with one minute between puffs. If there is no relief, take an additional puff of inhaled beta-agonist every five minutes. If there is no response after eight puffs, which is 40 minutes, your health care provider should be called.
  • Your provider also should be called if you have an asthma attack when you are already taking oral or inhaled or if your inhaler treatments are not lasting four hours.

Although asthma is a reversible disease, and treatments are available, people can die from a severe asthma attack.

If you are having an asthma attack and have severe shortness of breath or are unable to reach your doctor in a short period of time, you must call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. Do not drive yourself to the hospital. Have a friend or family member drive.

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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 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.

How To Prevent Asthma Attacks Without An Inhaler

6 things to do if you

Prevention is key when it comes to staving off asthma attacks so you can start to rely on your inhaler less. But theres no single best way to do it you need to find what works for you.

One thing is for sure thoughit takes a lot of work to become 100% asthma-attack free. But it can be done Im living proof .

I have stopped taking my preventative inhaler completely, and I only carry around my ventolin for emergencies now. But Ive only needed it a few times in the last few years, only when Im sick.

Heres the 5 easy and specific steps I took to get ventolin-free.

Taking the first steps, you will likely see a dramatic improvement in your asthma symptoms in a short period of time.

In my own personal experience, it was a complete change in my lifestyle that finally got me to the point where I wasnt ever having an asthma attack or reaching for my inhaler.

Every once in a while I experience a mild shortness of breath, but its never so much that I cant find relief using some simple techniques that I outline below.

Basically, I beat my asthma attacks by addressing my lack of physical activity, switching to a healthier diet and employing controlled breathing in times of need. Read on and let me take you through the basics.

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Its Easy To Get The Care You Need

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

It might feel like taking deep breaths of very cold air on a winter day. Your breathing becomes harder and may hurt. You may cough and wheeze. Is this an asthma attack?

If you have asthma, you already know that it makes the airways of your lungs swell and narrow. The wheezing that sometimes you can hear, sometimes only a physician can hear, is when air is trying to squeeze through those little airways, explains Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center. While no one knows for sure what causes asthma, its most likely a combination of inherited and environmental factors.

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Your Body May Present With Early Symptoms

Response from Theresa Cannizzarro, Respiratory Therapist

There are several warning signs that can occur before an asthma attack happens. A very common one is that you will notice your peak flow numbers start to drop, often times days before you start experiencing symptoms. Noticing under your chin is itchy is another unusual, yet common warning sign of an impending asthma attack. Itchy throat, excessive tiredness, and moodiness can also occur a couple days to a couple hours before your asthma starts acting up.

It’s important to start paying close attention to your body for any of these symptoms you may experience. I recommend to my patients to keep an asthma diary/journal and write down every day how you are feeling as well as peak flows, and symptoms. You’ll start to notice a pattern and be able to better predict if/when your asthma will start acting up.

Question : Are Your Symptoms Worse When You Are At Work

How Do I Prevent and Treat an Asthma Attack?

You answered yes.

You answered no.

  • Someone who works in an environment where they are exposed to dust, fumes, certain chemicals or animals, and finds their symptoms flare up at work, may have what is known as occupational asthma, which affects around one in ten people who first develop asthma in adulthood.
  • Bakers, vets, nurses, hairdressers, engineers and woodworkers are just some of the jobs that can lead to occupational asthma.

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What Is The Best Treatment For Asthma

Long-term control medications such as inhaled corticosteroids are the most important medications used to keep asthma under control. These preventive medications treat the airway inflammation that leads to asthma symptoms. Used on a daily basis, these medications can reduce or eliminate asthma flare-ups.

Advice For Friends And Family

It√Ęs important that your friends and family know how to help in an emergency.

It can be useful to make copies of your personal asthma action plan and share it with others who may need to know what to do when you have an attack.

You can photocopy your existing plan, or you could download a blank personal asthma action plan from Asthma UK and fill it in for anyone who might need a copy.

Or you could take a photo of your action plan on your phone, so you can show or send it to others easily.

Page last reviewed: 19 April 2021 Next review due: 19 April 2024

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Quiz: Do I Have Asthma Symptoms

If you think you are having an asthma attack you should seek immediate medical attention.

Asthma is a very common condition, affecting 5 million people in the UK. However, despite being so prevalent, some people with the condition may not necessarily realise they have it.

As with other conditions, recognising symptoms when they occur and getting a doctors advice are the first steps towards getting asthma under control.

If you suspect that you could have asthma weve developed a short quiz to help you get a clearer idea of whether you should approach your doctor for further advice.

This quiz should in no way be considered as a replacement for medical consultation with a healthcare professional.

However, if you find yourself answering yes to one or more of the below, we recommend that you speak to your GP so that they can provide guidance on what you should do next.

Research For Your Health

Asthma Symptoms In Children Adults And More

The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including asthma. Learn about the current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.

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Complementary And Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine practitioners may turn to any of several approaches to relieve wheezing or prevent spasms and constriction of the airways that lead to acute respiratory symptoms.

Its important to note that most have little scientific evidence to support their use. If you decide to incorporate complementary medicine into your treatment plan, let your doctor know so they can track any side effects and prevent drug interactions.

Tips For Running With Asthma

  • Get your asthma under control. Here I did a lot of research. I kept up on all the new medicines on the market. I read up on them. I worked with my doctor and was willing to try new medicines. This is what lead to trials with medicines like Advair and Singulair. Today I take both these medicines every day of my life. This has helped me gain good control of my asthma. So, work with your doctor. Take your medicine as prescribed. Get as good of control of your disease as possible.
  • Exercise in warm air. Cold air doesnt hold much water. So, as this cool, dry air beats on your respiratory tract, it pounds mast cells. These mast cells release chemicals that cause asthma symptoms. When I ran on cold days, my symptoms included chest tightness. My chest actually feels itchy. Phlegm increases. Trouble breathing usually begins when I decide to stop. To solve this problem, I decided not to run outside unless the temperature was 50 degrees or higher. If it’s cold out, I run inside. I run on the treadmill.
  • Dont worry what others think. This is key. I used to run with my wife, and she would outrun me. I ran with a friend, and he did three laps to my one. I told myself not to let this kind of thing bother me. I had asthma. It was awesome that I was even doing this. I decided to keep running at my own pace, even when I was running with friends. Even when my friends mock how slow I run, I keep doing it at my own pace.
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    You Live In A Cold Or Dry Environment

    EIB occurs when you breathe in air that is drier and cooler than the rest of your body, which is what happens when you inhale through your mouth while exercising, explains Dr. Ogden. This type of air is a common trigger that makes your airways narrow. If the climate you live in is particularly cold or dry, your lungs are definitely more at risk.

    What Is The Best Thing To Do When Having An Asthma Attack

    ASTHMA Symptoms and Signs – How to KNOW if You Have Asthma!

    You need to have an asthma action plan. An asthma action plan is a guide that you create with your doctor to treat your asthma, including what to do during an asthma attack. It should also address:

    • Medications you should be taking on a daily basis to keep asthma under control, if recommended.
    • Symptoms that may be a sign that your asthma is worsening and how to know that you might be having an asthma attack.
    • If you think youre having an asthma attack, what medications you should use.
    • Information to help you decide when to call your doctor who manages your asthma and when to go directly to the emergency room.

    Instructions on using a peak flow meter at home . The device measures your breathing. During an asthma attack, your breathing measurements on the PEF meter will be lower than normal. It can help you determine if you are having an asthma attack.

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    When Is It Serious

    To help you know when you need medical attention, use a peak flow meter every day so you know how much air typically flows out of your lungs. People with asthma have a lower air flow in and out of their lungs. By tracking your peak flow levels regularly, you can spot problems early before you experience annoying or dangerous symptoms. A meter will also tell you and your doctor how serious your asthma attacks are. That way youll know when to take medicine or seek emergency care. And peak flow readings can also help you pinpoint your asthma triggers.

    Some signs that your asthma is worse:

    If you need medical assistance, contact CareFinders at 1-866-608-FIND to make an appointment with a physician, or call 911 immediately if it is an emergency.

    How To Avoid Asthma Triggers

    If you know what your asthma triggers are, then where possible, its beneficial to try to avoid them.

    If theres a particular allergen culprit you know of, then keeping your home clean and dust-free can help. For example, you could consider swapping carpets for wooden floors to reduce the amount of dust build-up or hiring a cleaner so youre not personally exposed to dust when cleaning.

    It can be more difficult to avoid asthma triggers completely when youre at work, especially if your asthma is occupational and linked to your working environment. In an ideal world, you could simply change jobs to something more suitable for your health, but in reality this isnt always feasible.

    Let your employer or the HR department know about your asthma. You should be able to discuss the options available for optimising your work environment to be more suitable to your needs.

    Keeping on top of your asthma management plan, working alongside your doctor or asthma nurse and making sure you take your inhalers or other asthma medications should help to control your symptoms. Making practical lifestyle choices is important too, like eating healthily, exercising and not smoking.

    It can also be beneficial to learn an asthma breathing technique. There are various breathing techniques that can help asthma and knowing how to breathe properly could help if something unexpectedly triggers an attack.

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    When It Gets Worse

    Signs of worsening asthma include:

    • Feeling panicky
    • Wheezing when you breathe both in and out
    • Inability to stop coughing
    • Having trouble talking or walking
    • Getting a tight neck and chest muscles
    • Having a pale, sweaty face

    Follow the “Red Zone” or emergency instructions in your asthma action plan. Call 911 or get to the hospital. You need medical attention right away.

    What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack

    Asthma UK on Twitter: " Everyone needs to know what to do ...

    If you think youre having an asthma attack, you should:

  • Sit upright and try to take slow, steady breaths. Try to remain calm, as panicking will make things worse.
  • Take 1 puff of your reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
  • If the ambulance has not arrived within 15 minutes, repeat step 2.
  • Never be frightened of calling for help in an emergency.

    Try to take the details of your medicines with you to hospital if possible.

    If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, get an urgent same-day appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse.

    This advice is not for people on SMART or MART treatment. If this applies to you, ask a GP or asthma nurse what to do if you have an asthma attack.

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