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.
Tips From Other People With Asthma
If your asthma is keeping you awake at night, youre not alone.
In our recent sleep survey, 45% of people told us they have difficulty sleeping because of their asthma at least once a week, and nearly 50% said theyd had an asthma attack at night.
Here are some of the things that people tell us help them get a good nights sleep, which our nurses agree might be helpful:
- Ease a dry throat with a glass of water
- Try a nasal saline rinse or use decongestants to unblock a stuffy nose
- Take regular exercise
- Relax in the evening using mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises or yoga
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
If you find reading about other peoples experiences useful, or have some advice to share, join the conversations on our HealthUnlocked forum.
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Practicing Pursed Lips Breathing
Its best to try pursed lip breathing when youre not feeling shortness of breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose with your mouth closed, counting to two. Then breathe out at least twice as long through your mouth, with your lips pursedlike youre about to blow a bubble or whistle. To slow down your exhale, count to four as you breathe out. Then repeat.
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Be Familiar With Your Inhaler
For those times when you cant breathe, knowing where your inhaler is, how much medicine it contains and how to use it properly can greatly relieve your breathing distress. Using your inhaler properly is really important for getting the medicine into your lungs, Dr. Raub says. If youre not sure how to use it, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Common-sense guidelines for optimal inhaler use include:
- Shake the canister for 10 seconds and take off the cap.
- Attach a spacer device to the inhaler to get more medicine into your lungs.
- Take a slow, deep breath just after you press down on the canister and inhale through your mouth, not your nose. Hold your breath for 10 seconds. After 30 seconds, repeat with a second puff and a third, if needed.
Goodbye To Nocturnal Triggers
Whatever triggers your asthma symptoms during the day could also become problematic at night. Dust mites are known to exacerbate night-time asthma symptoms, and they love to get buried in the bedcovers. So, its a good idea to vacuum every corner of your bedroom regularly and to wash your bedding on a high heat.
Is the temperature in your room too hot or too cold? For some people temperature can be a night-time trigger. If youre experiencing a dry cough, you could consider installing a humidifier. Another common night trigger can be a high pollen count but thats easily fixed by keeping windows shut firmly and taking an allergy medication.
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Low Magnesium Leads To Lower Lung Function
Studies have found that low intakes of magnesium in the diet are associated with lower lung function as shown through airway flow rates, airway hyper-reactivity, and increased risk of wheezing. Thus, it is important that the body receives adequate levels of magnesium for asthma and lung health.
In addition, magnesium has also been shown to inhibit cholinergic neuromuscular transmission, stabilize mast cells and t lymphocytes, and stimulate the generation of nitric oxide and prostacyclin. This means low magnesium in the diet may be a serious risk factor for lung diseases.
What Causes Shortness Of Breath
In asthma, shortness of breath is usually caused by the narrowing of the airways. The airways become narrow for one or both reasons:
- The muscles that surround the airways tighten up .
- Inflammation makes the airways swell and fill with mucus.
The medical term for shortness of breath is dyspnea. People describe it as air hunger, fast breathing, running out of air, or not being able to breath fast or deep enough.1,4 Similar to thirst, hunger, or pain, it is nearly impossible to ignore.4 Because it is a subjective symptom, you can feel and describe it, but a health care provider cannot observe or measure it.
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Take A Preventative Stance
If youre especially sensitive to springtime allergens, use air conditioning in the house and car to limit your exposure. If youve been outdoors, wash your hair and clothes when you get home to get rid of those allergens. Clear your nasal passages with a Neti pot or other nasal irrigation method. Indoors, try to clear your house of allergens that trigger you.
How Is Nocturnal Asthma Treated
There is no cure for nighttime asthma, but daily asthma medications, such as inhaled steroids, are very effective at reducing inflammation and preventing nocturnal symptoms. Since nocturnal asthma or nighttime asthma may occur anytime during the sleep period, asthma treatment must be sufficient to cover these hours. A long-acting bronchodilator delivered in an asthma inhaler can be effective in preventing bronchospasm and symptoms of asthma. If you suffer from nocturnal asthma, you may also benefit from a long-acting inhaled corticosteroid. If you suffer with GERD and asthma, ask your doctor about medication that reduces acid production in the stomach. Avoidance of potential allergy triggers such asdust mites, animal dander, or feathers in a down comforter may also be very helpful in preventing allergies and asthma and nocturnal asthma attacks.
In addition, using your peak flow meter, you can monitor how your lung function is altered throughout the day and night. Once you notice this altered pattern of lung function, talk with your doctor about a plan to resolve your nighttime asthma symptoms. According to your type of asthma and asthma severity , your doctor can prescribe treatment to help you resolve your nighttime asthma symptoms so you can sleep like a baby.
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Who Can Get Asthma
Anyone can develop asthma at any age. People with allergies or people exposed to tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma.
Statistics show women tend to have asthma more than men, and asthma affects Black Americans more frequently than other races.
When a child develops asthma, healthcare providers call it childhood asthma. If it develops later in life, its adult-onset asthma.
Children do not outgrow asthma. They may have fewer symptoms as they get older, but they could still have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
What Happens During An Asthma Flare
During a flare-up, you might have:
- trouble breathing
- a whistling sound when you breathe
- a cough
Flare-ups happen when the airways in the lungs get more irritated and swollen than usual. Your lungs might make a sticky mucus, which clogs the airways. The muscles around the airways will also tighten up, making them really narrow. This clogging and narrowing make it tough to pull air in and push air out.
Some flare-ups are mild, but others are serious. If the flare-up is severe, a person might:
- struggle to breathe or have fast breathing even when sitting still
- not be able to speak more than a few words at a time without pausing
- have retractions while breathing in
Flare-ups can happen suddenly. They also can build up over time, especially if you haven’t been taking your asthma medicine.
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Follow Your Asthma Action Plan
An asthma action plan is a personalized care plan that details what you should do in the event your asthma is getting worse or results in an attack. Your doctor will have discussed this plan with you, and it is important that you follow your protocol for best results.
If youve suffered from asthma for a while, chances are youve got your action plan committed to memory. However, having a copy of it in your bag or wallet, or saved on your phone, can help you remember what to do if you begin to panic. It also can help others who may be around you guide you through the steps in your plan.
Despite your best efforts, some asthma attacks may just be too much for you to handle on your own.
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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Yoga Breathing Exercises For Asthma
Yoga breathing or yogasana for asthma stems from the practice of yoga. As a form of exercise, yoga incorporates the need to breathe steadily in a controlled fashion whilst moving, stretching and balancing.
Some studies have shown encouraging results and an improvement in asthma symptoms after yoga breathing techniques have been practised. Yoga is also good for helping to relieve stress and, as stress can be a trigger for asthma, it may be good to try both yoga breathing exercises and yoga movements.
Practicing The Buteyko Method
So how exactly do you perform this technique? Start by sitting upright comfortably on the floor or in a chair, breathe normally for a few minutes. Then, after a gentle exhale through your nose, hold your breath and plug your nose with your thumb and index finger. Hold your breath as long as you can and when you feel the urge to breathe, inhale through your nose. Breathe normally again for about 10 seconds and then repeat the exercise a few times.
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Asthma And Breathing Exercises
Exercising can be more challenging when you have asthma, especially if youre worried it might set off an asthma attack. But exercise is beneficial for your overall health and your asthma. In fact, having regular exercise could result in improving your asthma symptoms, as increasing your heart rate helps improve your lung power, boost stamina and reduce breathlessness.
In addition, regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of an asthma attack. Exercising also releases chemicals in your brain called endorphins, which can raise your mood and help you feel better.
The best types to do if you have asthma are:
- Swimming the warm moist air in a swimming pool is asthma-friendly. Swimming is a good low-impact cardiovascular workout that helps the whole of your body and especially the muscles you use for breathing.
- Walking walking is a great way to improve your fitness, especially if you need to build up slowly.
- Cycling steady cycling can improve movement and endurance levels, without overstraining the lungs.
- Jogging jogging can help strengthen the muscles you use for breathing, as well as improve your fitness as a whole.
- Team sports team sports that involve short bursts of physical activity, such as netball, volleyball, football or athletics can be good choices to try.
How Does It Work
There are a number of Buteyko breathing clinics around the world and each has its own approach to the method. Basically, it involves breathing out fully, and then trying to breathe out a little more â until it feels like your abdomen is being drawn back against your spine. Stay in this exhaled state for as long as you comfortably can, then allow the air back in again reasonably slowly. It must be approached gently â that is, no gulping or gasping. Finally, you breathe normally for a while. When ready, you start again at the first step â breathing out fully â and go through the process again.
People practising Buteyko aim to increase the length of time they can hold the exhaled position. They breathe through the nose and avoid taking deep breaths.
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Identifying Your Asthma Triggers
What To Do In An Asthma Attack:
1. Sit up straight
2. Take your reliever medication as directed. Use your Asthma Action Plan for reference.
3. Call 911 if your symptoms persist or worsen. Do this if you feel worse at any point or if there is no improvement after taking your medication.
4. Follow-up with your doctor or healthcare provider
An asthma attack can be a life-threatening emergency thats why you should always carry your reliever inhaler with you and never hesitate to call 911 if your symptoms persist.
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When To See The Doctor
A good rule of thumb is you should visit your doctor if you have asthma and you wake up in the night more than once per week after using treatments. Your doctor can evaluate what may be causing your symptoms and help modify your treatment plan. Checking your breath in a peak flow meter at night may also be helpful.
If you are not diagnosed with asthma but have asthma-like symptoms at night, you should report the episodes to your doctor. While you may not have asthma, your doctor can point you in the right direction for treatment.
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Useful Things To Know: 6 Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
Do u know how it feels like when you are stuck in a small space with no ventilation? The uneasiness, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest make you feel that you are going to pass out. Well, that is not even half of what patients feel like during an asthma attack.
Asthma is a condition in which the airways that deliver air to the lungs narrows, swell, and may start producing extra mucus. When you breathe in irritantssuch as pollen, dust, dry air, pet dander, or smoke, the airways become even more swollen and the muscles surrounding them tighten. It can make it difficult to breathe and lead to asthma attacks. The condition is irreversible and can only be controlled through treatment.
Dr. Rommel Tickoo, director, internal medicine at Max Hospitals-Saket, Delhi said that a minor asthma attack can be easily managed at home with the help of nebulizers and inhalers. Only those suffering from severe asthma attacks need hospitalization.
He further said that the episodes of a severe asthma attack are common among those who have chest related issues, chronic asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD and smokers. Others may experience it 1-2 times in a year, whenever exposed to irritants.
To act promptly in such a situation, you must be familiar with what an asthma attack looks like. Here are 6 common symptoms of an asthma attack.
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Don’t have written asthma action plan from your doctor
- Use an inhaler, but don’t have a spacer
- Miss more than 1 day of school per month for asthma
- Asthma limits exercise or sports
- Asthma attacks wake child up from sleep
- Use more than 1 inhaler per month
- No asthma check-up in more than 1 year
- You have other questions or concerns
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How To Not Let Exercise
Everyone knows how it feels to struggle through a when your lungs are basically shrieking that you should just stop and go back to bed. But if working out always makes your lungs feel like youre in the ninth circle of hell, you might actually have exercise-induced . Heres how you can spot the symptoms, plus expert-approved tips on managing exercise-induced asthma even if youre a workout fiend.
Asthma happens when the airways in your lungs narrow and produce excess mucus to the point where you experience issues like coughing, a whistling sound when you breathe , chest tightness and pain, and shortness of breath, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . Some people only experience this domino effect while theyre working out, which is when exercise-induced asthma enters the picture.
Experts actually often refer to exercise-induced asthma with the more specific name exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. This is to clarify that while strenuous exercise may trigger the airways in your lungs to narrow , its not actually an underlying cause of asthma, according to the Mayo Clinic.
These symptoms can start just a few minutes into a workout session, but like with most , everyone is different. Ive had patients be well into exercise and then they cant function, Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., tells SELF.