What Should I Do If I Think I Have Asthma
If you think that you have asthma, the best thing you can do is see your healthcare provider as soon as possible for proper testing and diagnosis. Many people normalize their symptoms, without ever realizing that a symptom-free life could be possible. Its crucial to never ignore or downplay your asthma symptoms, you never know when something could trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack.
The sooner that you get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, the sooner you can take control of your asthma and live life to the fullest.
Symptoms Of Asthma Emergencies In Children
The signs of an asthma emergency include when the child:;
- finds it very difficult to breathe or is not breathing;
- is unable to speak comfortably or;complete sentences without losing breath;
- has;lips turn blue;
- has symptoms that get worse very quickly;
- has tugging in of the skin between ribs or at the base of the neck;
- is getting little or no relief from their reliever inhaler, or their reliever inhaler is not available.;
What Is The Best Thing To Do When Having An Asthma Attack
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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What Does Asthma Feel Like
Asthma is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes with increased production of sticky secretions inside the tubes. People with asthma experience symptoms when the airways tighten, inflame, or fill with mucus. Common asthma symptoms include:
- Coughing, especially at night
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness, pain, or pressure
Still, not every person with asthma has the same symptoms in the same way. You may not have all of these symptoms, or you may have different symptoms at different times. Your asthma symptoms may also vary from one asthma attack to the next, being mild during one and severe during another.
Some people with asthma may go for extended periods without having any symptoms, interrupted by periodic worsening of their symptoms called asthma attacks. Others might have asthma symptoms every day. In addition, some people may only have asthma during exercise, or asthma with viral infections like colds.
Mild asthma attacks are generally more common. Usually, the airways open up within a few minutes to a few hours. Severe attacks are less common but last longer and require immediate medical help. It is important to recognize and treat even mild asthma symptoms to help you prevent severe episodes and keep asthma under better control.
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How To Tell You Have Asthma
Asthma is a complex disease to diagnose, and only a healthcare professional is able to make a proper diagnosis.
If you are concerned that you may have asthma, contact your healthcare provider. In order to confirm an asthma diagnosis, your healthcare provider will take into account your medical and family history, allergies, and conduct lung function testing such as spirometry.
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Advice For Friends And Family
It’s 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
Asthma Attack A Guide To First Aid And Emergency Care For Asthma
Asthma can be an emergency. A sudden or severe asthma flare-up is sometimes called an asthma attack.
An asthma flare-up is a worsening of asthma symptoms and lung function compared to what you would usually experience day to day. An asthma flare-up can come on slowly, over hours, days or even weeks, or very quickly, over minutes.
If you or someone you care for are experiencing any of these signs, start asthma first aid.
Do not wait until asthma is severe.
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How Do You Know If You Have Asthma
Asthma is a respiratory problem usually occurs due to the inflammation of bronchial tubes but how do you know if you have asthma? Normally, people experience symptoms like coughing, wheezing, tight feeling in chest and allergies as well. These symptoms simply points to the asthma. Are these symptoms enough to find out whether you have asthma or not? Its a no. Some people will not experience in the same way.
Symptoms for asthma attack can be mild to severe. Mild attacks are common. Mild asthma attacks might cause during exercise or due to the cold. Sometimes mild asthma attack tends to last longer. Well, in this case, immediate treatment is required. Seeking medical treatment at prior will keep asthma under control. But how do you know if you have asthma? Here are some signs and symptoms that will help you to know about it.
What Happens During An Asthma Episode
With normal breathing, the lungs airways are fully open and air can move in and out of the lungs freely.
During asthma, the airway branches leading to your lungs become overly reactive and sensitive. The linings of the airways will swell and become inflamed, mucus will clog the airways, and muscles tighten around the airways . This results in airflow obstruction in the lungs, narrowing the airways and making it difficult to breathe.
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Question 5: Do You Keep Getting Chest Infections
You answered yes.
You answered no.
- People with asthma have sensitive airways so are at a higher risk of developing chest infections.
- Often following a cold or a bout of the flu, a chest infection can considerably worsen asthma symptoms.
- If you have a chest infection which isnt clearing up, or you keep getting them again and again, consult your doctor, as this may be an indication that you have asthma.
Vaping And Lung Damage
- Talk with your teen about the dangers of vaping.
- Vaping can cause severe lung damage. It can become permanent.
- Vaping can even cause death .
- Vaping tobacco also causes nicotine addiction.
- For these reasons, the legal age to purchase vaping products is 21 in the US.
- Encourage your teen to not start vaping or to give it up.
- Warning: home-made or street-purchased vaping solutions are the most dangerous.
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Treatment For Asthma Emergencies In Children
An asthma attack can quickly become an asthma emergency, but if you take quick action, you can reduce the risk of this happening. So, if the symptoms of an asthma attack appear, follow your childs asthma action plan.;
If your child is experiencing a;severe or life-threatening asthma attack, call triple zero for an ambulance and then start asthma first aid.:;
- Sit the child upright.;
- Give;4;puffs of reliever medication , taking;4;breaths for each puff. Use a spacer and mask if one is available.;
- Wait;4;minutes if the child still cannot breathe normally, give;4;more puffs.;
- Continue to give;4;separate puffs of reliever medication, taking;4;breaths for each puff, every;4;minutes until the ambulance arrives.;
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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Signs And Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
The difference between having asthma and having an asthma attack is the severity of the symptoms. Otherwise, the symptoms, themselves, are mostly the same.;
So, if you have asthma, you will likely have had most of the symptoms of an asthma attack already, just in a milder form, says Troy Madsen, MD, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Utah.
Some of the most common symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- Extreme shortness of breath
- Tightness in your chest
How Is Asthma Treated
Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you and stay away from things that can trigger an attack to control your asthma.
Everyone with asthma does not take the same medicine.
You can breathe in some medicines and take other medicines as a pill. Asthma medicines come in two typesquick-relief and long-term control. Quick-relief medicines control the symptoms of an asthma attack. If you need to use your quick-relief medicines more and more, visit your doctor to see if you need a different medicine. Long-term control medicines help you have fewer and milder attacks, but they dont help you while you are having an asthma attack.
Asthma medicines can have side effects, but most side effects are mild and soon go away. Ask your doctor about the side effects of your medicines.
Remember you can control your asthma. With your doctors help, make your own asthma action plan. Decide who should have a copy of your plan and where he or she should keep it. Take your long-term control medicine even when you dont have symptoms.
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Sticking To Your Asthma Action Plan
Work with your doctor to develop a personalized action plan to help keep your asthma under control. Your plan will include things like how often to take your asthma medications, when to step up your treatment, when to see your doctor, and what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Make copies of your asthma action plan for reference. You can also keep a photo of your plan on your phone. Its a good idea to share this information with family and loved ones so they know what to do if you have an attack. If youre too ill to make your own medical decisions, they should know to get you to medical help as quickly as possible.
What To Do After An Asthma Attack:
One in six people who receive treatment at the hospital needs emergency treatment again within two weeks. Asthma attacks are not normal and you should not tolerate them.
Take the following key steps to prevent you having another attack in the future:
- Book an urgent appointment with your healthcare provider
- Keep taking your asthma medication as prescribed
- Take the rest of the day to recover after the attack
It is important to know that the majority of severe asthma episodes can be avoided by having good asthma control.
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What Do I Do If Im Having An Asthma Attack
How much time you have once you start feeling symptoms before you enter a full-blown attack is different person-to-person sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days, Dr. Patel says.
Ideally though, as an asthmatic, you and your doctor have already worked out a plan of action in case an attack ever happens. Typically, it looks something like: Use your rescue inhaler once, then wait 15 minutes and check your symptoms . If they haven’t improved, take another two puffs of your rescue inhaler. Check levels and symptoms again in 15 minutes. If they aren’t better, call your doctor.
If your symptoms are severe like its really hard to breathe or speak head to the hospital, Dr. Sporter advises.
What Are The Signs Of An Asthma Attack
Some of the most common symptoms of an asthma attack are trouble breathing, wheezing, a cough , and shortness of breath which can either be difficulty getting air in, or trouble pushing air out, or both. Some people feel pain in their chest, too.
But the symptoms can also be as bad as feeling like you cant catch your breath all the way through to respiratory arrest, Dr. Patel adds.
Both docs agree, there is no single marker of an asthma attack. Its more about looking at the overall picture: When an asthma attack is brewing, patients start to lose control of their asthma, Dr. Sporter explains.
That means feeling things worse than normal, or at a time when you normally dont, like exercising or standing still. Also, waking up at night with asthma symptoms is a very significant sign of poor or worsening asthma control, Dr. Sporter adds.
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Early Warning Signs Vary But May Include: 3
- Frequent cough, especially at night
- Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath during the course of the day
- Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
- Wheezing or coughing after exercise
- Feeling tired, easily upset, grouchy, or moody or being uncharacteristically irritable
- Decreases or changes in your peak expiratory flow rate
- Signs of a cold, upper respiratory infection, or allergies
- Trouble sleeping
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, nor is it meant to apply to all our readers. These particular early signs tend to be the most common ones reported. Your own early warning signs will be unique to your individual asthma condition. If you are attuned to your own early warning signs, it can go a long way towards helping to maintain control over your asthma condition.
If you have early warning signs or symptoms, you may be able to prevent the exacerbation or poor control by taking more asthma medication. This should all be described in your own individualized Asthma Action Plan.4
What You Need To Know About Your Childs Asthma
There are many things to think about and plan for when your child has asthma. It is important to learn as much as you can about the condition. Your doctor and pharmacist are there to help you. Talk to them about any concerns you may have about your childs asthma.;To manage your childs asthma effectively, it is important to know:;
- the pattern of their asthma;
- their;asthma medications what they do and how to help your child take them properly;
- what to do if they have an asthma attack know and follow;asthma first aid.;
Make sure you have an updated written;asthma;action;plan and understand how to use it.;
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Some People Experience Unusual Asthma Attack Symptoms
Response from Lorene Alba, AE-C
Itâs important to pay attention to your body for these often-subtle warning signs. My chin itches before I have an asthma episode, usually a day or two before. Other warning signs can be restless sleep, feeling tired or moody, having a stuffy nose, or clearing your throat. A drop in your peak flow meter reading is also a warning sign; peak flow meters often show your asthma worsening before you begin to feel symptoms.
What To Expect When You Visit The Doctor
Your doctor;may;ask whether you have any family history of asthma, eczema or hay fever.;
In children, doctors assess the severity of the asthma based on the pattern and frequency of the symptoms.;
Lung function tests are difficult to perform in children younger than;5;years and so are usually only used to diagnose;and assess;severity in children;5;years and older.;
It is recommended that a paediatrician or paediatric respiratory specialist diagnose and manage asthma in infants under 12 months. If your infant is wheezing your doctor should refer to you one of these specialists.;
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