How To Survive An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler
Richard Firshein, DO, director and founder of Firshein Center for Integrative Medicine in New York City, and author of several books, including , , and . .
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If you have asthma, then you know how scary it can be when you have an attack and have trouble breathing for anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, depending on its severity.
So youre probably careful to keep your rescue inhaler with you at all timesin case of an emergency.
But what happens if an attack starts and you discover that your inhaler is empty or you dont actually have it??
How can you lessen the severity of an asthma attack and/or stop it altogether without your trusty inhaler?
To find out, I called Richard Firshein, DO, director and founder of The Firshein Center for Integrative Medicine in New York City and author of Reversing Asthma: Breathe Easier with This Revolutionary New Program. And he had some very interesting advice
DO YOU NEED TO GO TO THE ER?
HOW TO BREATHE EASIER
Change your location. Asthma is typically triggered by an irritanteither an allergen or toxinthat inflames the airways. So remove yourself from the environment that contains the trigger as fast as you can. If youre reacting to dust, pets, mold or smoke, for example, get away from itor at the very least, breathe through a sleeve, a scarf or your jacket collar to reduce your exposure.
Using A Natural Remedy Arsenal For Asthma
Asthma symptoms are a nuisance at best and dangerous at worse. Luckily there are some natural remedies for asthma that can help you prevent the onset of asthma symptoms for you or your child, and make daily life more enjoyable.
Do you or a family member suffer from asthma? What remedies work best for you?
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.
Is your child disturbed by symptoms at night? Read our advice on asthma and your childs sleep.
How To Relax The Airways
Dr. Thiruchelvam says the primary goal is to ensure that you dont avoid exercise. Here are some practical things you can do if you have exercise-induced asthma:
Gaining and maintaining good control over exercise-induced asthma often requires teamwork. A primary care sports medicine physician can help you keep your asthma well-controlled, so that exercise is less likely to trigger symptoms.
Can Certain Foods Help With Asthma
Theres an increasing amount of evidence that suggests certain foods can help to control asthma. One example is ginger. Researchers found that ginger, when combined with commonly used inhaled medications, enhances airway dilation. It is believed that the ginger reduces the contraction of the muscles surrounding the airways.
A study showed that omega-3 fatty acids may help patients be less reliant on rescue medications, and improve quality of life. Its easy to get more foods high in these fats. Sources include walnuts , salmon, pumpkin seeds, and more.
Additionally, it may help your child to get more vitamin B6. It has been shown to help with breathing early in the morning and reduce acute wheezing episodes, and its especially beneficial for patients who are dependent on a steroid for their asthma.
It may also help your child to increase their intake of vitamin C. Studies showed that this reduced episodes of wheezing in children.
You may want to talk to a professional before incorporating new foods into your childs diet.
Make Changes To Your Diet
There is no specific diet for asthma patients but the exclusion and inclusion of a few elements in your diet can make a considerable change. Being overweight has been known to affect and trigger asthma symptoms. Include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. To reduce the inflammation around your airways, consider sources rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Omega 3 found in salmons, mackerels are also known to help with inflammation. If any particular food seems to make your symptoms much worse, make a note and avoid consuming it.
Can You Treat Asthma Without An Inhaler
Unfortunately, there is no other effective first aid treatment for asthma. Placing the victim in a comfortable position to aid their breathing and keeping them calm will help, but these first aid measures will not stop the swelling and inflammation of the small airways. The victim will require treatment to improve their breathing.
How To Help Someone With An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler
Asthma is a very common condition with around one in 13 of us affected. It’s been increasing since the 1980s and affects people of all ages and backgrounds. There’s currently no cure for asthma, but typically with the right treatment plan and lifestyle changes, most people diagnosed with asthma are able to live normally without severe symptoms.
However, very occasionally, a person with asthma may be caught off guard. They might find themselves facing an attack without an inhaler to help them. Fortunately, this doesn’t need to be as bad as it might sound. With the right assistance, they could get through an attack using some simple coping techniques.
If you know someone with asthma, learning more about their condition, as well as what you can do to help them, can be valuable.
Air Pollution As An Asthma Trigger
Air pollution can be a risk factor for anyone with asthma. And for Liam this appears to be one of his triggers. It can be difficult to avoid pollution, especially if you live in a town or a city, but there are a few things you can do to help stop it triggering your asthma.
This includes checking the pollution forecast in your area with DEFRA’s UK-wide forecasts and avoiding pollution hotspots like main roads, junctions, bus stations and car parks.
Read more about Asthma UKs policy work on air pollution, to find out what were doing to help people with asthma.
And if you want to start campaigning for clear air like Liams mum Maria, with our sister charity British Lung Foundation.
How Do I Handle An Asthma Flare
If you feel like a flare-up is about to happen, stay calm. Let people around you know what’s going on. Then remember your asthma action plan. That’s the written plan that tells you what to do next.
Stay calm and focus on what your asthma action plan says. Your doctor probably told you to use your quick-relief medicine, so do that first.
If you can figure out what triggered your symptoms , remove the trigger or yourself from the area. Sometimes that’s all you need to get your asthma under control again.
If a flare-up is more severe, you might need to get help.
Why Might Someone With Asthma Be Without An Inhaler
However, this doesn’t mean that everyone with asthma has an inhaler with them at all times. Often when someone has been living without symptoms for a long time, they may assume that their asthma has gone, and so get out of the habit of carrying one. Some people might develop symptoms suddenly for the first time as an adult, with no preparation. Others might just sometimes forget. Unfortunately, not having an inhaler won’t stop an attack.
Can Dogs Have Asthma
Asthma is more often associated with cats, but dogs can suffer from this health condition too. Its usually seen in middle-aged and smaller dogs, such as , , and Maltese.
Asthma in dogs is typically caused by an allergic reaction that affects the airways. The bronchi, which are small air passages in the lungs, become inflamed and start to fill with mucus. They contract and spasm, making it hard for your dog to breathe.
Cat asthma is the most commonly diagnosed feline respiratory disorder. Veterinary epidemiologists estimate that it affects around 800,000 kitties in the US.
Part 1 Of 3:identifying Your Asthma Triggers
Control Your Breathing And Your Environment
If you feel that an asthma attack is imminent, you should immediately take steps to calm yourself down and move away from anything that may make the attack worse. For example, if youre driving and you feel an attack coming on, you should pull over, roll up your windows and turn either your heater or air-conditioning on full blast. You definitely dont want to be on the road in the middle of an attack and sealing yourself off will keep you from inhaling allergens that may be in the area. If youre sitting at home and you feel an attack coming on, hop in the shower. Not only will doing so allow you to breathe in air while relaxing in the steam, it will also wash off any allergens that have landed on your hair or skin. If youre at work, head to the bathroom. Retreating to a private space, youll have the privacy you need to focus on slowing down the rate of your breathing. Afterward, you might want to drink a cup of hot coffee as caffeine is a natural bronchodilator.
What To Do When Asthma Stops You Sleeping
- If you have asthma symptoms, sit up and take your reliever inhaler as prescribed.
- Always make sure your inhaler is beside your bed before you go to sleep, so you dont have to search for it in the middle of the night.
- Give yourself a bit of time to check your reliever medicine has dealt with your symptoms before you go back to sleep, says Dr Andy Whittamore. This is better than falling asleep straight away only to wake up soon after with asthma symptoms because your reliever didnt help enough.
- Some people find propping themselves up with extra pillows helps as it keeps the airways open.
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.
Tips For When You Dont Have An Inhaler
Mild to moderate asthma attacks can occur at inopportune times. You may be able to manage your asthma more effectively with these tips. If these dont work CALL AN AMBULANCE.
When Should I Go To The Er
Don’t be embarrassed to get medical help if you think you need it. These situations call for emergency care:
- You take your asthma medicine and your flare-up doesn’t get any better.
- You feel a little better after taking your medicine, but your symptoms come back quickly.
- You have frequent wheezing, a lasting cough, or chest pain.
- Your lips and fingernails are bluish or grayish.
- You have trouble breathing, talking, or walking.
How To Stop Asthma Cough
This article was co-authored by Shaun Berger, MD. Dr. Shaun Berger is a board certified Pediatrician based in the San Diego, California metro area. Dr. Berger provides comprehensive primary care for newborns, children, and adolescents, focusing on preventive medicine. Dr. Berger earned a BA in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and an MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Berger then completed a residency at the UCSF/Fresno Community Medical Centers/Valley Childrens Hospital where he was elected Chief Resident. He has been awarded the UCSF Foundation Award and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 76,283 times.
Many people are familiar with common asthma symptoms like tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. Coughing is another troublesome symptom of asthma, the inflammatory lung disease which narrows the breathing airways. To stop an asthma-related cough, identify and avoid your triggers, take medication to treat your asthma, and make yourself comfortable.
Heartburn And Gastric Acid
Heartburn, acid reflux, dyspepsia all are names for the painful, burning discomfort experienced as stomach acid backs up into the esophagus and irritates sensitive tissues. Gastroesophageal reflux, or GER, is a common, occasional symptom that everyone experiences from time to time. Of a more severe nature, GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disorder, is a chronic, persistent problem often accompanied by dry cough, asthma symptoms and difficulty swallowing. If the situation is left unresolved, GERD can lead to more serious health problems.
Digestive herbal formulas can be very helpful in diminishing the symptoms of heartburn, and may interrupt the progression of acid reflux into more serious disorders. This is illustrated in the following letter sent to us by a naturopathic doctor who frequently recommends digestive herbal formulas to his patients.
I recently treated a 50-year-old male for a second recurrence of GERD. Various medications and supplements had helped somewhat. When I placed him on your digestive herbal formula, 2 capsules, 3 times daily, over the course of about five weeks he was able to eliminate his medications and most of his other supplements. He has also returned to eating regular foods with no ill effects. He now takes your digestive herbal formula as needed for occasional rare flare-ups upon overeating.
Prednisone: A Last Resort For Many
For us, it’s a sort of last resort to use prednisone. We will get more medication with prednisone , than if using a daily, controller inhaler to keep the swelling down in our lungs. Why?
A controller inhaler is just that – inhaled – so the medicine goes in the lungs. Prednisone is given as a pill or liquid version and since you swallow it, it goes through your ENTIRE body – lungs, liver, kidneys, etc. It’s called a “systemic steroid” because it goes through your whole system.
How much more medicine would you get with one burst of prednisone, vs your daily inhaler ? One doctor did a little math to figure it out. This is what he said:
“In order to explain why regular ICSs are a good choice, Ive got to do a little math. Lets say you were just using a rescue inhaler for asthma control and that during the last year you only required one course of oral steroids, prednisone. A usual prednisone burst is 40mg a day for 5 days for a total of 200mg or 200,000mcg. By way of comparison, each dose of Advair 100/50 contains 100mcg of fluticasone, the steroid. If you took Advair 100/50 twice a day, the usual dose, it would take you 1000 days of regular use to equal the amount of steroids in one burst of prednisone on a mcg-per-mcg basis.”
So, we would rather take our daily inhaler, be exposed to less medicine over time, and have less side effects. But, sometimes we have no choice but to have a burst of prednisone.
How To Get Rid Of Asthma
Asthma is the result of inflammation and constriction of the bronchial tubes . Allergens, environmental irritants and even stress can cause symptoms of asthma. If untreated, asthma can start with mild symptoms such as a cough or wheezing, and then escalate into an asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks make it very hard or even impossible for the asthma sufferer to breathe, depriving him of oxygen. Although there is no cure for asthma, there are steps you can take to treat or eliminate symptoms.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Use an inhaled medication . Albuterol is a short-acting beta-2 agonist that temporarily relaxes airway muscles to help you control your breathing. Atrovent is an inhaled anticholinergic that can help to provide immediate relief. Atrovent works similarly to albuterol. Albuterol is used as a quick treatment for acute symptoms. Chronic symptoms are usually treated with a Flovent Diskus, which must be prescribed by your doctor.
Take an oral prescription medication such as Theophylline. Theophylline is taken daily and is used as a long-term treatment to suppress asthma symptoms. Theophylline relaxes the muscles around airways, making it easier to breathe. Prednisone is a prescription medication is also used for long-term treatment to treat more severe asthma symptoms. Prednisone is only taken when needed.
Drink water regularly to keep the bronchial tubes moist.
Keep Your Mattress Up Off Of The Floor
While you technically can use some mattresses directly on the floor, we dont suggest that for people with allergies Placing your mattress on the floor means youre closer to dirt, dust, and other germs that can more easily make their way into your sleep space. Using a mattress foundation or bed frame limits your exposure to these irritants.
Clear Out Cockroaches And Ladybugs
Cockroaches are one of the worst allergy and asthma triggers, says Lee, and getting an exterminator to eliminate them is worth your while. But another insect trigger you may not know of is the ladybug. “And ladybugs cross-react with cockroaches,” Lee adds. Whenever ladybugs arrive in droves, they settle around the house and then break down into a dust-like powder that’s a powerful allergen. It might sound mean, especially to seemingly innocent ladybugs, but Lee recommends that you vacuum them.
Two Tips For Stress Reduction
What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack
If you think you’re having an asthma attack, you should:
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.
Using The Papworth Method
The Papworth method has been used since 1960 to help people with asthma. It is a type of breathing and relaxation technique. It makes use of the nose and diaphragm to develop breathing patterns that will suit the asthma patient. These breathing patterns can then be used while engaging in activities that can possibly flare up your asthma. Papworth method is a way of controlling over-breathing that is basically rapid and shallow breaths taken at the top of the chest.
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.
It’s 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.
Side Effects Of Prednisone
It can literally be a life saver- but it can have a LOT a side effects. Some of the common side effects are:
- sleep problems
- increase in appetite
- nausea, etc
It can also impair the immune system – which is a problem if you have asthma. The last thing you want to get is a cold, because it can turn into bronchitis or pneumonia. In fact, we are having that problem now.
Middle Son is in college and had a nasty case of bronchitis which required prednisone and an antibiotic. He was almost better until the Hubster brought home a terrible chest cold as a souvenir from our trip to Hawaii. Since Middle Son had an impaired immune system, and the Hubster’s cold was a different strain, Middle Son started a new battle with bronchitis – but it was much worse this time. He ended up on a 2nd antibiotic and was really struggling to breathe. It was scary.
Then, a few days later, he picked up a stomach bug. Poor guy! I think he picked up the 2nd cold and the stomach bug because he had been on a course of prednisone – which suppressed his immune system.
Everything has been disinfected, and we wipe down all of the surfaces every day to try to keep the germs away. But Middle Son still has to go to work and college
If you do very sick and your doctor recommends prednisone, “the necessary evil”, discuss the benefits and side effects with her.
For us, the biggest benefit is that my son is still breathing and not in the hospital again. I’ll take prednisone over that any day.