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:
- pain or tightness in your chest, and
- recurrent, spasmodic cough 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 steroids 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.
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If you are in the emergency room, treatment will be started while the evaluation is still going on.
Personal Asthma Action Plan
As part of your initial assessment, you should be encouraged to draw up a personal asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse.
If you’ve been admitted to hospital because of an asthma attack, you should be offered an action plan before you go home.
The action plan should include information about your asthma medicines, and will help you recognise when your symptoms are getting worse and what steps to take. You should also be given information about what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Your personal asthma action plan should be reviewed with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year, or more frequently if your symptoms are severe.
As part of your asthma plan, you may be given a peak flow meter. This will give you another way of monitoring your asthma, rather than relying only on symptoms, so you can recognise deterioration earlier and take appropriate steps.
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Other Things Play A Role
Lists of good and bad places to live with asthma often include a look at other things like:
- Poverty: More people living in poverty means fewer people with access to medical care.
- Lack of insurance: Again, it means fewer people with asthma will be getting care.
- Number of asthma doctors: Without enough specialists, people who canât travel easily wonât get care.
- Number of ER visits: A high ranking means people arenât seeing a doctor regularly.
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Children Do Not Outgrow Their Asthma
Its also a misconception that all children outgrow their asthma.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, children may experience remission from asthma as adults, but about one-third of children with asthma will have symptoms as adults.
A 2014 study found that its possible to experience a second peak of symptoms later in adulthood.
What Are The Signs That The Person Has Died
- The person is no longer breathing and doesnt have a pulse.
- Their eyes dont move or blink, and the pupils are dilated . The eyelids may be slightly open.
- The jaw is relaxed and the mouth is slightly open.
- The body releases the bowel and bladder contents.
- The person doesnt respond to being touched or spoken to.
- The persons skin is very pale and cool to the touch.
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What Are The Typical Symptoms If You Have Moderate Untreated Asthma
You typically have episodes of wheezing and coughing from time to time. Sometimes you become breathless. You may have spells, sometimes long spells, without symptoms. However, you tend to be wheezy for some of the time on most days. Symptoms are often worse at night, or first thing in the morning. You may wake some nights coughing or with a tight chest. Young children may not have typical symptoms. It may be difficult to tell the difference between asthma and recurring chest infections in young children.
What Is An Asthma Action Plan
An asthma action plan is a plan agreed by you with your doctor or nurse. The plan enables you to make adjustments to the dose of your inhalers, depending on your symptoms and/or peak flow readings. The plan is tailored to individual circumstances. The plan is written down, usually on a standard form, so you can refer to it at any time. Research studies suggest that people who complete personal asthma action plans find it easier to manage their asthma symptoms and that their plan helps them to go about their lives as normal. Asthma UK provides asthma action plans which you can download from www.asthma.org.uk/advice-personal-action-plan.
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When To See An Allergist
It can be difficult to pinpoint whether cats are actually the source of your allergic asthma. Cat allergens can combine with other possible triggers to making your symptoms disruptive to your life. Asthma can also get worse over time if its not treated.
An allergist can use tests to specify what exactly exacerbates your asthma symptoms and help you build up your immune system to tolerate them. Immunity is important if you want to keep your feline baby around long term.
What Is Asthma And Who Does It Affect
Asthma is a condition that affects the smaller airways of the lungs. From time to time the airways narrow in people who have asthma. This causes the typical symptoms. The extent of the narrowing, and how long each episode lasts, can vary greatly.
Asthma can start at any age but it most commonly starts in childhood. At least 1 in 10 children and 1 in 20 adults have asthma. Asthma runs in some families but many people with asthma have no other family members affected.
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Can Asthma Reappear In Adults After Disappearing Years Ago
Asthma is usually diagnosed in childhood. In many patients however, the symptoms will disappear or are significantly reduced after puberty. After age 20, symptoms may begin to reappear.
Researchers have tracked this tendency for reappearing asthma and found that people with childhood asthma tend to experience reappearing symptoms through their 30s and 40s at various levels of severity.
Regardless of whether your asthma is active, you should continue to avoid your known triggers and keep your rescue medications or prescriptions up-to-date and handy in case you need them.
Whats An Asthma Attack
When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes the airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
- Inflammation: The airway linings become swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of the lungs.
- Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.
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Flu Vaccines For People With Asthma
- Injectable influenza vaccines are approved for use in people 6 months and older regardless of whether or not they have asthma or other health conditions. Flu shots have a long-established safety record in people with asthma.
- The nasal spray vaccine is an option for use in people 2 through 49 years old who are not pregnant, but people with certain chronic medical conditions should generally not receive LAIV.
- People of any age with asthma might be at increased risk for wheezing after getting the nasal spray flu vaccine and should talk to their health care provider before getting the nasal spray vaccine.
- Children 2 to 4 years old who have asthma or who have had a history of wheezing in the past 12 months should not get the nasal spray vaccine.
There are several flu vaccine options available this season. Your doctor or other health care professional can answer any questions you might have about flu vaccine.
Get pneumococcal vaccines.
- Pneumococcal pneumonia is an example of a serious flu-related complication that can cause death.
- People who have heart disease should also be up to date with pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.
- You can get either Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine when you get a flu vaccine.
- Talk to your health care provider to find out which pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for you.
Impact Of Ics On Long
In the majority of individuals with asthma, treatment with ICS improves symptoms and lung function, reduces the frequency of exacerbations, and reduces airway inflammation . In addition, the very earliest studies of the efficacy of ICSs in asthma demonstrated their ability to reduce or eliminate the need for OCSs as a maintenance treatment . Furthermore, registry studies have shown that even low doses of ICS reduce the risk of severe asthma exacerbations and death from asthma . The ability of ICS to reduce the risk of severe exacerbations can even be seen when ICSs and rapid-onset inhaled 2-agonists, delivered from the same inhaler, are only used as a reliever treatment .
Observational, nonrandomised studies of both children and adults followed in asthma clinics , and studies of adults with asthma from the general population , have suggested that ICS treatment may have beneficial effects on the course of lung function. However, this has been very difficult to prove in an RCT, since in excess of 3years of observation are needed to draw conclusions about long-term changes in FEV1, due to the combination of considerable measurement error and a very modest age-related annual FEV1 decline . In addition, randomisation of individuals with even mild asthma to placebo maintenance therapy may result in substantial withdrawal during such a study due to inadequately controlled symptoms and the occurrence of exacerbations.
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Vaccine Distribution In Canada
As part of the Canadian Thoracic Societys COVID-19 Respiratory Roundtable panel representing Canadians living with lung disease, Asthma Canada signed a joint statement titled Prioritization of Canadians with Lung Disease in COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout. Alongside other lung health organizations, Asthma Canada is urging federal, provincial and territorial governments to prioritize people living with lung disease who are at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 complications in the vaccination rollout. From Canadians living with a lung disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and pre- and post-lung transplant, there is widespread concern regarding when in the vaccine rollout in the provinces and territories they will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine.
We will continue to advocate for our community on this subject and will share more information as it becomes available.
Having Compromised Airways Is Scary And Can Take A Psychological Toll
JoJo ONeal, 55, of Orlando, Florida, was diagnosed with severe asthma in 2004. She now runs a Lets Kick Asthma support group, where she has an activity called the Straw Challenge: Anyone who doesnt have asthma is asked to take a cocktail straw, hold their nose, and only breathe through the straw for 15 seconds. Most people dont make it through those 15 seconds they begin to panic, she says. And thats when I tell them, Imagine. At times it may not be that severe, but it can be. The psychological aspects of going through an asthma attack can really mess with your mind.
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What Are The Typical Symptoms Of A Severe Attack Of Asthma
You become very wheezy, have a tight chest and have difficulty in breathing. You may find it difficult to talk because you are so breathless. Severe symptoms may develop from time to time if you normally have moderate symptoms. Occasionally, severe symptoms develop suddenly in some people who usually just have mild symptoms.
Managing Your Asthma During The Pandemic
- Keep taking your controller medication daily or as prescribed. This will help cut your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including COVID-19.
- Carry your reliever inhaler with you every day, in case your asthma symptoms flare up.
- Monitor your asthma symptoms closely and follow your Asthma Action Plan to help you recognize and manage asthma symptoms, and know when to seek advice from your healthcare provider or emergency help.
- If you must travel, pack all asthma medications in your carry-on luggage so it is easily accessible. Pack extra asthma medication in case your travel plans change or are delayed. Be sure to check travel advice and advisories from the Government of Canadas website.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and fluids, and eat good nutritious food.
- Ensure that you speak with your healthcare provider about recommended vaccinations. Getting both the influenza vaccination and pneumococcal disease vaccinationare important steps people with asthma can take to help stay healthy.
- Reach out to Asthma Canadas Asthma & Allergy HelpLinecall-back service to connect with a Certified Respiratory Educator if you have questions about managing your asthma. Call 1-866-787-4050 or email
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How Is Asthma Treated
The first step in the plan of care to help you manage your asthma is education. Its important for you to understand:
- how asthma affects the body
- what triggers constriction and inflammation in your airways
- which medications are safe and effective
You will be prescribed a quick relief inhaler to help relieve immediate symptoms. Your provider will work with you to identify triggers that cause the onset of symptoms and identify ways to control these triggers. Your provider may order allergy testing as well.
It is important to follow the plan of care and track the pattern of your symptoms. Your provider will want to know if you get sick or notice an increase in your symptoms, but also remember to see your provider for regular follow-up appointments even if you feel well. Follow-up appointments are important so that your asthma control can be assessed and changes to your treatment plan made if needed. Successful treatment and control of your asthma is truly a partnership between you and your provider.
What Are The Dosages Of Treatment
Everyone is different. The correct dose of a preventer inhaler is the lowest dose that prevents symptoms. A doctor may prescribe a high dose of a preventer inhaler at first, to ‘get on top of symptoms’ quickly. When symptoms have gone, the dose may then be reduced by a little every few weeks. The aim is to find the lowest regular dose that keeps symptoms away.
Some people with asthma put up with symptoms. They may think that it is normal still to have some symptoms even when they are on treatment. A common example is a night-time cough which can cause disturbed sleep. But, if this occurs and your symptoms are not fully controlled, tell your doctor or nurse. Symptoms can often be prevented – for example, by adjusting the dose of your preventer inhaler, or by adding in a long-acting bronchodilator.
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How Do You Monitor Asthma Symptoms
Monitoring your asthma symptoms is an essential piece of managing the disease. Your healthcare provider may have you use a peak flow meter. This device measures how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It can help your provider make adjustments to your medication. It also tells you if your symptoms are getting worse.
Does Asthma Get Worse As You Age
With age, lungs become less elastic, chest walls more rigid and respiratory muscles less efficient, which can aggravate asthma symptoms. Older people may not respond very well to inhaled corticosteroids used to treat asthma, due to physiological changes that come with age.
Older people often have other coexisting conditions which can complicate diagnosis and treatment of asthma. The risk for morbidity and mortality typically increases with age.
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Cardiac Asthma Is Not The Same As Asthma
Although they share a name, cardiac asthma is not a type of asthma. Asthma is caused by the narrowing and inflammation of the airways in the lungs, while cardiac asthma is coughing or that occurs due to left-sided heart failure. Treatments for cardiac asthma typically are the same as those for heart failure. Cardiac asthma prognosis depends on several factors, including what stage your heart failure is in, your diet, and lifestyle elements, such as exercise routine and tobacco and alcohol use. The mortality rate for heart failure at one year is 22% and at five years is 43%.
Paying For Your Medicines
Most adults with asthma will need to pay a prescription charge for their medicines.
If you need to take a lot of medicines, paying for each item individually could get quite expensive. You may find it cheaper to get a prescription prepayment certificate. This is where you pay a one-off charge for all your prescriptions over a 3- or 12-month period.
You will not need to pay for your medicines if you do not normally pay prescription charges. For example, all under-16s are entitled to free prescriptions.
Read more about prescription costs to find out if you’re entitled to help with your prescription charges.
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