How Can I Prevent Asthma Flare
Asthma flare-ups can be handled, but it’s even better if you can prevent them from happening. To do that:
- Take asthma medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribed a long-term control medicine, take it each day, even when you feel fine. It needs to be taken exactly as your doctor tells you to keep protecting you against flare-ups.
- Get a flu shot each year before flu season starts.
- Avoid triggers. By knowing and avoiding your triggers, you might be able to prevent some flare-ups.
It’s important to plan ahead and know what to do. Work with your doctor to build and update your asthma action plan. That way, you know what to do if a flare-up happens and you’re in control if things get serious.
What Is An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack occurs when the muscles surrounding the airways tighten and your airways become too narrow for you to breathe effectively.
An attack can happen suddenly if your asthma is not under control and you are exposed to one of your triggers. Or it can build up slowly, over hours, days or even weeks.
It is important to learn to recognize the symptoms of worsening asthma and know what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Asthma What It Is And How To Help If Someone Is Having An Asthma Attack
by Emma Hammett | Aug 27, 2021 | Essential First Aid, First Aid Advice |
We all know people who have asthma. However, very few of us would know what to do if someone close by started to have a serious asthma attack and was struggling to breathe. Read on to find out what asthma is, what may trigger it and how to help someone having an asthma attack.
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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.
Follow Your Action Plan
Once you come up with a foolproof healthcare plan with your doctor that entails management strategies and taking medications, ensures you follow it to the letter. As an ongoing condition that calls for frequent treatment and monitoring, managing your asthma can make you feel more in control of your life.
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When To Go To The Er For Asthma
If you or someone you know are experiencing a severe asthma attack, seek medical attention immediately. Ideally, you should have already talked with your doctor to develop an asthma action plan in the case of an emergency. Otherwise, here are some common signs that indicate you should seek medical help:
- Minimal/no improvement with quick-relief inhaler use
- Abnormal shortness of breath during minimal physical exertion
- Rapid decline in breathing or wheezing
- Blue lips or fingernails
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.
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How To Help Someone Having An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler
Trying to help a person struggling through an asthma attack without an inhaler can be a frightening experience, but the most important thing you can do to help is to stay calm. Aside from breathing slowly, staying calm is crucial for the person experiencing an asthma attack and you dont want to add to the stress he is experiencing.
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.
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Follow An Asthma Action Plan:
Developing an asthma action plan with your doctor can support you control your condition. The plan should document important information, such as your prescriptions, how to handle asthma attacks, and how to control your asthma indicators in the long run. Most plans detached asthma symptoms into 3 colored zones green, yellow and red to help you monitor the sternness of your symptoms.
It is a constant condition that necessitates regular monitoring and treatment. Taking control of your treatment can make you feel more in control of your condition, and life in general.
Medical History And Physical Exam
Your doctor will ask about your risk factors for asthma and your . They may ask also about any known allergies. This includes how often symptoms occur, what seems to trigger your symptoms, when or where symptoms occur, and if your symptoms wake you up at night.
During the physical exam, your doctor may:
- Listen to your breathing and look for of asthma
- Look for allergic skin conditions, such as eczema
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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 you’re 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 don’t 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 .
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma
The telltale sign of asthma is a wheezing sound stemming from your chest with every breath you take. You may also experience noticeable shortness of breath, being unable to get sufficient oxygen, coughing, and chest tightness.
One of the most common symptoms during an asthma attack is the inability to speak due to interruptions in your breathing. A multitude of patients discovers that various triggers can lead to an asthma attack, such as:
A myriad of risk factors is believed to increase your susceptibility to asthma. They include:
- Having blood relatives with asthma, such as siblings or parents
- Exposure to occupational triggers such as chemicals used in hairdressing, manufacturing, and farming
- Being overweight or obese
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Having an allergic condition such as atopic dermatitis that triggers itchy, flaky, red skin, or hay fever that causes itchy eyes, a runny nose, and chest congestion
- Frequent smoking
- Exposure to exhaust fumes and other types of pollution
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What To Do During An Asthma Attack
Given that the symptoms of an asthma attack may crop up quickly, it helps to be prepared. If this occurs, you may experience:
- The need to use your inhaler every two to three hours
- An increase in chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing
- Being woken at night due to asthma symptoms
Now that you know the answer to the frequently asked question, what does an asthma attack feel like? if you or someone youre with is experiencing it, call an ambulance or head over to the nearest clinic.
If you notice the fingertips turning blue, rapidly debilitating asthma symptoms, difficulty breathing, or not improving from the use of an inhaler, you should call for emergency assistance.
What Happens During An Asthma Episode
During normal breathing, the airways to the lungs are fully open. This allows air to move in and out of the lungs freely. Asthma causes the airways to change in the following ways:
These changes narrow the airways. Breathing becomes difficult and stressful, like trying to breathe through a straw stuffed with cotton.
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After An Asthma Attack
You should see a GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of leaving hospital, or ideally on the same day if you did not need hospital treatment.
About 1 in 6 people treated in hospital for an asthma attack need hospital care again within 2 weeks, so it’s important to discuss how you can reduce your risk of future attacks.
Talk to a doctor or nurse about any changes that may need to be made to manage your condition safely.
For example, the dose of your treatment may need to be adjusted or you may need to be shown how to use your inhaler correctly.
Consult With A Pediatrician
Consult with a pediatrician and develop a written action plan to prevent asthma attacks in your children. The plan will include a list of asthma instructions and medications on when and how the child should use them. Taking preventive measures can prevent an attack. Write down all the symptoms that appear, detailing the severity, when it happened, and how long it lasted.
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Signs You Actually Have Severe Asthma
Breathing is just one of those things you take for granted until it feels like every inhale or exhale is a struggle. Unfortunately, people with severe asthma have to deal with breathing issues way more often than anyone should, and it can be completely terrifying.
Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects the airways that extend from your nose and mouth to your lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When youre exposed to triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, exercise, and respiratory infections, these airways can narrow, restricting your airflow. This can then make the muscles surrounding your airways constrict, making it even harder to breathe, and cause your airways to produce more mucus than normal, further compounding the problem. All together, this can lead to asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing , and chest tightness or pain, according to the NHLBI.
Like most health conditions, asthma severity runs along a spectrum, Emily Pennington, M.D., a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. Some people have cases where they experience minor symptoms here and there . Others can have asthma that is basically an ever-present problem and might result in scary asthma attacks, which is when symptoms ramp up in severity and can even become life-threatening.
How Asthma Is Treated
While there is no cure for asthma, there are a number of treatments that can help control the condition.
Treatment is based on two important goals, which are:
- relieving symptoms
- preventing future symptoms and attacks
For most people, this will involve the occasional or, more commonly, daily use of medications, usually taken using an inhaler. However, identifying and avoiding possible triggers is also important.
You should have a personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse that includes information about the medicines you need to take, how to recognise when your symptoms are getting worse, and what steps to take when they do so.
These symptoms are often worse at night and early in the morning, particularly if the condition is not well controlled. They may also develop or become worse in response to a certain trigger, such as exercise or exposure to an allergen.
Read our page on the causes of asthma for more information about potential triggers.
Speak to your GP if you think you or your child may have asthma. You should also talk to your doctor or asthma nurse if you have been diagnosed with asthma and you are finding it difficult to control the symptoms.
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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.
What Are The Triggers
There are many different triggers for asthma attacks. Many asthmatics are well aware of their trigger points. However, they may not always be able to avoid them.
Pollen and pollution are increasingly responsible for triggering asthma. Many people find a worsening of their symptoms in Spring, combined with the onset of hay fever. There are many species of grasses, trees and weeds in the UK. Some people are particularly sensitive to some and do not react at all to others. There is also huge variation around the country as to when pollen is released. People can begin to suffer from hay fever as early as January. About 20% of people with hay fever are allergic to birch tree pollen and this, as well as oak and plane trees, are responsible for many unpleasant symptoms and can exacerbate asthma.
Grass pollens are the most common cause of hay fever and usually affect people in May, June and July.
Weed pollens usually release pollen from early spring to early autumn.
If you know pollen is a trigger for your asthma, speak to your GP or asthma nurse.
The Met Office issues really useful pollen advice.
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Often people find it particularly difficult to breathe out and have an increase in sticky mucus and phlegm
Its important to note that not everyone will get all of these symptoms.
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Can Asthma Be Cured
There is currently no known cure for asthma, but with proper diagnosis and asthma management it is fully possible for people with asthma to live healthy, active and symptom-free lives.
There is still much research that needs to be done to fully understand how to prevent, treat and cure asthma. Asthma Canadas National Research Program is committed to supporting leading asthma researchers and graduate student researchers working to expand our knowledge and one day, unlock a cure.
Give Yourself Some Time To Recover
After an asthma attack it’s important to try and rest as much as you need to. Lots of people feel physically and emotionally tired. Everyone’s different so it’s important to do what’s right for you.
- rest and relax as much as possible
- get signed off work by your doctor dont go back to work until youre fully better
- ask friends and family to help with children or housework and shopping
- have a good sleep routine trouble sleeping is common after an asthma attack
- postpone social events until youre well enough
- call the Asthma UK Helpline on 0300 222 5800 for reassurance and support if youre frightened or stressed after your asthma attack. Or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728.
book another appointment with your GP as soon as possible,
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Know The Four Steps Of Asthma First Aid
Its important for everyone in the community to know the four steps of asthma first aid.:
If you are not sure if someone is having an asthma attack, you can still use blue reliever medication because it is unlikely to cause harm.
- the person is not breathing
- their asthma suddenly becomes worse
- the person is having an asthma attack and theres no blue reliever medication available.