Asthma Attack Symptoms & First Aid
Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects your lungs. It causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. Asthma can be controlled by taking medicine and avoiding the triggers. However, when symptoms get worse, it is called an asthma attack. Asthma affects people of all ages and often starts during childhood.
What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack
A severe asthma attack needs immediate medical care. The first step is your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than your normal maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should only use the rescue inhaler in an emergency.
If your rescue inhaler doesnt help or you dont have it with you, go to the emergency department if you have:
- Anxiety or panic.
- Bluish fingernails, bluish lips or gray or whitish lips or gums .
- Chest pain or pressure.
Eat To Beat Inflammation
No particular diet can prevent asthma symptoms, but eating healthy foods can help you feel better overall. If youre overweight, losing a few pounds will give your lungs more room to expand.
At mealtimes, load up on fruits and vegetables. Plant-based foods are high in antioxidants like beta carotene and vitamins A and E, which may help combat inflammation in the lungs.
Also increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish like salmon and tuna, as well as in nuts and seeds. There is some evidence these foods might help cut down on asthma symptoms.
If you have sensitivities or allergies to particular foods, try to avoid them. Allergic reactions to food can trigger asthma symptoms.
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Medications As A Preventative
Bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory medications, and immunotherapy can help manage asthma and help prevent attacks. Inhalers are bronchodilators and include beta-agonists such as albuterol, metaproterenol, and pirbuterol. Doctors prescribe them for mild, occasional symptoms as well as rescue medications to prevent an attack. Other bronchodilators, such as salmeterol and theophylline, are prescribed as controlled to reduce the number of attacks.
Anti-inflammatory medications are also controllers that patients take regularly regardless of whether they have asthma symptoms. These medications reduce inflammation that reduces mucus production and constricted airways. Doctors may prescribe several other anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids for more severe asthma.
Some asthma sufferers also benefit from regular immunotherapy injections if their triggers involve sensitivity to indoor allergens. Immunotherapy seems to work best for those with mild to moderate asthma.
Learning how to help an asthma attack also means anticipating possible episodes. Asthma patients should constantly monitor their symptoms and peak-flow readings if they have a home peak flow meter to help identify when attacks may be imminent. When symptoms flare, follow your asthma plans instructions for using your inhaler. Peak flow readings of 51 percent to 79 percent signal that you should use your rescue medications.
Chest Pain After An Asthma Attack
So its 24 hours later. My breathing is normal, but my chest is sore and stiff. This is normal after an asthma attack, especially if it was bad enough that your accessory muscles were utilized to help yo inhale. They hurt because they normally aren’t used, and when they are used small muscles fibers on these muscles are torn, causing pain and stiffness the next day.
This is no different than the pain and soreness you feel after a good, strong workout, the kind of workout you do to make your muscles bigger and stronger. Of course, in our case, we dont want our accessory muscles getting bigger and stronger. Still, because I used them yesterday, they hurt today.
What is the treatment for this? As with the pain and soreness due to any other workout, this pain and soreness will go away in a day or two. If you want to take a Tylenol or something that is up to you and your doctor to determine. As for me, I just wait it out. Actually, as for me, I dont let myself get this bad anymore. Of course, if you are as familiar with this thing we call asthma as I am, sometimes it happens even when we dont plan on it. So thats why we take our daily asthma controller medicines, have asthma action plans, and avoid our asthma triggers the best we can.>
So, I shared my experience with asthma-related chest pain. For me, it is a common early warning sign. Every asthmatic is different. So, do you ever experience it? Let us know in the comments below?
What To Do After An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack can be a learning experience if you and your doctor use it to refine your asthma action plan. Get some tips on what to do after an asthma attack.
An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms that causes your air passages to become smaller and makes your breathing more difficult. Symptoms of an asthma attack may include difficult and painful breathing, coughing, and wheezing. Anyone with asthma needs to have a plan for what to do during an asthma attack. But you should also know what to do after an asthma attack.
“You can’t always avoid an asthma attack, but you can check in with your doctor and use an asthma attack as a way to improve your asthma management,” said Jonathan Bernstein, MD, an associate professor in allergy and asthma at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center. “In some cases, an asthma attack may be an indication that you need to make some changes.”
Seeing your doctor after an asthma attack is especially important if you are newly diagnosed. “Discussing the attack with your doctor can help you learn more about your asthma and empower you to manage your asthma better in the future,” said Sumita Khatri, MD, co-director of the asthma center at the Cleveland Clinic.
What Is An Asthma Action Plan
Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop an asthma action plan. This plan tells you how and when to use your medicines. It also tells you what to do if your asthma gets worse and when to seek emergency care. Understand the plan and ask your healthcare provider about anything you dont understand.
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What Is Good Asthma Care
Your doctor or nurse will tailor your asthma treatment to your symptoms. Sometimes you may need to be on higher levels of medication than at others.
You should be offered:
- care at your GP surgery provided by doctors and nurses trained in asthma management
- full information about your condition and how to control it
- involvement in making decisions about your treatment
- regular checks to ensure your asthma is under control and your treatment is right for you
- a written personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse
It is also important that your GP or pharmacist teaches you how to properly use your inhaler, as this is an important part of good asthma care.
What Are My Triggers
Most people are allergic to more than one trigger and sometimes the response is different, so you could get itchy eyes around cats but a runny nose during pollen season. The severity of the allergic reaction varies between people and depends on the circumstances. A reaction may not be immediate.
Sometimes it can be fairly obvious what triggers your asthma. If you have symptoms after coming in contact with cats or dogs then pets are probably one of your triggers. The same applies for contact with smoke from cigarettes or open fires.
Triggers like pollen can be more difficult to determine because the allergens are not visible. It is important to keep a diary of when you experience symptoms and note where you were at the time, what the weather conditions were like and what things you were exposed to including stress.
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Are People With Asthma At Higher Risk Of Poor Outcomes From Covid
Despite the lack of hard data, the WHO, the CDC, and lung disease specialists are in agreement: People with asthma have a higher risk of severe illness and death with respiratory infections in general. Because of this, any child or adult with moderate to severe asthma should consider themselves at risk for severe COVID-19 disease and take extra precautions with their health.
This is especially true for anyone who has been admitted to the hospital for asthma in the last 12 months, or who has ever been admitted to an intensive care unit for their asthma.
Why is this recommendation in place when there is no hard evidence? Heres why.
Any infection in the lung can trigger an asthma attack, causing the smallest airways in the lung to tighten up and let very little air in and out. The symptoms are sudden and severe: shortness of breath, wheezing, and cough. If the infection is mild, for example with a common cold, asthma symptoms can usually be managed at home. Most people with asthma have an asthma action plan that tells them how to manage their symptoms when they get worse, and when to seek medical attention.
If the infection is more serious, a person with an asthma attack may need emergency treatment in the hospital with oxygen, nebulizers, and corticosteroids. Usually things improve pretty quickly. Antibiotics help to treat a bacterial lung infection if there is one, and flu treatments like can help shorten symptoms if the infection is caused by the flu.
How Long Does An Asthma Attack Last
Asthma is often a terrifying experience for those who suffer severe attacks. You feel like you can breathe as you are gasping for air. This chronic, long-term lung condition never fully resolves, yet it can be well managed with proper treatment for many patients. However, at the same time, asthma attacks, also known as exacerbations or acute bronchospasm, will occur periodically.
How long asthma attacks last varies from person to person. Mild attacks sometimes only last a few minutes, while severe flare-ups can last for days with waxing and waning symptoms. Wide variations in symptoms also accompany asthma attacks. The attack length often depends on how severe inflammation is and how the patient responds to treatment. Without treatment, attacks will continue, seemingly without end, so its important for those who have asthma to receive proper care. The earlier you receive help, the sooner your symptoms will dissipate.
When To Seek Emergency Treatment
Some people wonder if you can die from an asthma attack. If its severe enough, you certainly can die. Generally, when experiencing an asthma attack, its best to remain calm and use your medications as prescribed.
For those rare instances when you experience an attack and dont have the necessary medication with you, stopping an attack is possible. Learning how to stop an asthma attack without an inhaler involves removing yourself immediately from triggers. If you cant completely remove yourself from the trigger, breathe through some cloth or a mask to filter the air. Sit upright as much as possible to allow your lungs to take in the most air. Sip a hot, caffeinated beverage to help open your airways.
Dont delay calling 911 if your asthma begins to feel completely out of control. Getting help quickly can mean the difference between life and death. Once you have had a severe asthma attack, you are at risk of having more. Seek immediate medical attention if you have the following symptoms:
Severe wheezing or breathlessness, especial at night or early in the morning
Inability to speak more than a few words at a time because of breathlessness
You strain your chest muscles to breathe
No improvement after using a rescue inhaler
Low peak flow readings
How To Stop An Asthma Attack
Learning what to do in an asthma attack is particularly important for patients who have developed asthma recently as well as for caregivers who may not be sure of what they need to do. The first line of defense is working with your doctor to develop a management plan that includes medication and ways to help you avoid triggers to minimize the possibility of attacks. Your treatment plan will likely change over time as asthma often changes over time, so expect periodic adjustments to keep daily symptoms under control. Asthma that isnt well-controlled leads to regular attacks as lingering lung inflammation means you could have a flare-up at any time.
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Know The Signs Of An Asthma Attack
Youre having an asthma attack if:
- your blue reliever isn’t helping, or you need to use it more than every four hours
- you’re wheezing a lot, have a very tight chest, or you’re coughing a lot
- you’re breathless and find it difficult to walk or talk
- your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you can’t get your breath in properly
You may have all of these signs and symptoms. Or you may have just some of them. For example, you may not wheeze.
Know your early warning signs
An asthma attack happens when your symptoms get much worse. This can happen quite suddenly or can build up gradually over a few days.
You can stop an asthma attack before it happens, or make it less serious so you dont end up in hospital, by recognising when your symptoms are getting worse.
After An Asthma Attack: Changing Your Asthma Management Or Asthma Attack Treatment
“After an asthma attack evaluation, your doctor may want to step up treatment, step down treatment, change treatment, or increase your doctor visits,” said Bernstein.
Some signs that your treatment plan may need to change include:
- Frequent asthma attacks
- Needing to take more asthma medication than prescribed
- Waking up at night with asthma symptoms
- Daytime activity limited by asthma
- Continued cough, congestion, and mucous production
- Poor peak flow rates
Knowing what to do after an asthma attack is part of learning how to manage your asthma. Each asthma attack is a chance to learn more about your asthma triggers and your asthma medications. Sharing this information with your doctor gives you and your doctor the opportunity to make the right adjustments to your asthma action plan â and that could mean fewer asthma attacks in your future.
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Side Effects Of Relievers And Preventers
Relievers are a safe and effective medicine, and have few side effects as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands , headaches and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.
Preventers are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially with long-term use.
The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection of the mouth or throat . You may also develop a hoarse voice and sore throat.
Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects, as can rinsing your mouth or cleaning your teeth after using your preventer inhaler.
Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep side effects to a minimum.
What Types Of Asthma Are There
Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma can be:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
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How Is An Asthma Flare
The best thing to do first if your asthma symptoms are getting worse is to use your rescue or quick-relief medicine. Ask your doctor if youre not sure what to use for quick-relief medicine. The usual inhaler dose is two to four puffs every 20 minutes for a total of three doses, or one nebulizer treatment if you have a home nebulizer.
You should be able to tell how serious the flare-up is after you use your quick-relief medicine. If you have a peak flow meter, check your PEF again after you use the quick-relief medicine. If your PEF is still very low, your flare-up is serious.
Your doctor may have given you a written Asthma Action Plan with directions for treating mild, moderate and severe flare-ups. If you dont have an action plan, ask your doctor for written directions about treating asthma flare-ups. If you have the symptoms of a serious flare-up or if your PEF is less than 50 percent of your personal best, call your doctor right away or go directly to the nearest hospital emergency room .
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Asthma Attack Causes And Symptoms
Asthma affects about 235m people worldwide, including both adults and children. The symptoms of asthma can be well controlled by regular medications and lifestyle choices, but sometimes an Asthma Attack occurs where the symptoms suddenly get worse.
Read on to discover the facts about asthma attacks, what causes them, the symptoms to look out for and common asthma attack triggers.
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What Are The Signs Of An Asthma Flare
Asthma flare-ups can vary in strength and length. They can happen without warning, causing sudden coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
Flare-ups should be treated right away. So it’s important to know their early warning signs, including:
- restless sleep or coughing that prevents sleep
- mild chest tightness or wheezing
If the flare-up is severe, a kid might:
- struggle to breathe or have fast breathing even when sitting still
- be unable to speak more than a few words at a time without pausing
- have retractions while breathing in
Because they can be life-threatening, flare-ups demand attention. Your child might need to take quick-relief medicine , visit the doctor, or even go to the hospital.