Symptoms Of Asthma Emergencies In Children
The signs of an asthma emergency include when the child:
- finds it very difficult to breathe or is not breathing
- is unable to speak comfortably or complete sentences without losing breath
- has lips turn blue
- has symptoms that get worse very quickly
- has tugging in of the skin between ribs or at the base of the neck
- is getting little or no relief from their reliever inhaler, or their reliever inhaler is not available.
What Is Severe Asthma
Severe asthma is often harder to control than mild to moderate asthma. It may require higher dosages and more frequent use of asthma medications. If youre not managing it properly, severe asthma can be dangerous and even life threatening in some cases.
Its important that youre able to recognize when your condition isnt properly managed. Doing so can help you take steps to find a more effective method of treatment.
Here are eight signs that your severe asthma is getting worse and what to do next.
Be Partners In Asthma Management
As soon as your child is old enough, make sure he or she understands the asthma action plan and the importance of following it. Some kids with asthma, especially teens, resist taking long-term control medicines and rely instead on their quick-relief medicines to help them on an as-needed basis. This is never a good idea and will increase the chances of needing emergency care.
The chances of a serious asthma flare-up can be reduced if parents and kids understand and follow the action plan. And remember to call your doctor even during early flare-ups or if you have questions about your action plan.
Reviewed by: Nicole A. Green, MDDate reviewed: May 2013
Note: All information on KidsHealth is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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You Wake Up Coughing And Wheezing During The Night
If youre ever jolted awake in the middle of the night by a fit of coughing or wheezing, you may need to modify your asthma management plan.
Properly managed asthma shouldnt wake you up from sleep more than 1 or 2 nights a month. If youre losing sleep due to your symptoms more than this, it may be time to discuss treatment modifications with your doctor.
Your peak flow readings measure how well your lungs are functioning at their best. This is usually tested at home with a handheld device called a peak flow meter.
If youre a peak flow meter user, and your peak flow levels drop below 80 percent of your personal best, it may be a sign that your severe asthma is poorly managed.
Another sign that your asthma is getting worse is if your peak flow reading varies greatly from day to day. If you notice low or inconsistent numbers, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Asthma Vs Copd Over Time
- Asthma is usually considered a periodic disease. This means symptoms only occur sometimes. COPD is usually considered a persistent disease. This means that symptoms may appear to some degree all the time.
- Periods between asthma attacks may last days, weeks, months, or even years. In this way, asthma can seem to go into remission in some people. COPD flare-ups may also be periodic in this way. But, COPD does not go into remission.
- Asthma usually does not progress over time. COPD is generally considered a progressive disease. But, this progression may be slowed with a proper diagnosis and aggressive treatment.
- Speaking of diagnosis, both diseases may be confirmed with a test called a pulmonary function test . The test will show if triggers cause airflow limitation. It can also show if this airflow limitation is reversible or not reversible .
- Asthma medicines are used to prevent and control asthma symptoms. COPD medicines are used to allay symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
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Is It Asthma Or Copd
A spirometry test, or pulmonary function test, can measure how well the lungs work. Individuals blow into the device as hard and as long as they can, providing information about how much air the lungs take in and expel. Many doctors use spirometry tests to measure airway problems associated with COPD and asthma.
Factors doctors look at when weighing a diagnosis with COPD or asthma include:
- A history of smoking: Most people with COPD are or were smokers.
- Age: Asthma often appears in childhood. If breathing difficulties occur after the age of 40, doctors are more likely to diagnose COPD.
- Symptoms: Coughing in the morning, heavy phlegm, and progressively getting worse suggest COPD. Recurring attacks, particularly if accompanied by allergies or eczema, suggest asthma.
- Family history: Asthma is more likely to run in families.
- Symptom triggers: People with COPD may have symptoms when they are active or at rest, without a known trigger. Asthma attacks may be caused by physical activity or something in the environment.
- Onset of symptoms: COPD tends to get worse over time, while asthma attacks come on suddenly.
- Responsiveness to treatment: Asthma tends to respond better to quick acting rescue inhalers than COPD does.
Diagnosis with either condition doesnt rule out developing another breathing disorder, so patients should report all symptoms to their doctor.
Can Asthma Be Cured
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.
Asthma Patterns In Children
Every childs asthma is different. Some children have mild, occasional episodes of asthma or only show symptoms after exercising, or when they have a cold. Some experience daily symptoms, while others have symptoms continuously, which limit their level of activity.
Each pattern of asthma requires a different treatment approach. It is important to remember that children can still have a severe and even life-threatening attack, even if they generally have mild or occasional asthma.
When To Get Medical Advice
See a GP if you have persistent symptoms of COPD, particularly if youre over 35 and smoke or used to smoke.
Find out more about tests for COPD.
While theres currently no cure for COPD, the sooner treatment begins, the less chance there is of severe lung damage.
Find out more about how COPD is treated.
Page last reviewed: 20 September 2019 Next review due: 20 September 2022
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Advice For Friends And Family
It’s important that your friends and family know how to help in an emergency.
It can be useful to make copies of your personal asthma action plan and share it with others who may need to know what to do when you have an attack.
You can photocopy your existing plan, or you could download a blank personal asthma action plan from Asthma UK and fill it in for anyone who might need a copy.
Or you could take a photo of your action plan on your phone, so you can show or send it to others easily.
Page last reviewed: 19 April 2021 Next review due: 19 April 2024
What You Need To Know About Your Childs Asthma
There are many things to think about and plan for when your child has asthma. It is important to learn as much as you can about the condition. Your doctor and pharmacist are there to help you. Talk to them about any concerns you may have about your childs asthma. To manage your childs asthma effectively, it is important to know:
- the pattern of their asthma
- their asthma medications what they do and how to help your child take them properly
- what to do if they have an asthma attack know and follow asthma first aid.
Make sure you have an updated written asthma action plan and understand how to use it.
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Know The Asthma Symptoms In Children
Asthma affects as many as 10% to 12% of children in the United States and is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. For unknown reasons, the incidence of asthma in children is steadily increasing. While asthma symptoms can begin at any age, most children have their first asthma symptoms by age 5.
For more detail, see WebMDâs Asthma in Children.
What Are The Signs Of An Asthma Attack
Some of the most common symptoms of an asthma attack are trouble breathing, wheezing, a cough , and shortness of breath which can either be difficulty getting air in, or trouble pushing air out, or both. Some people feel pain in their chest, too.
But the symptoms can also be as bad as feeling like you cant catch your breath all the way through to respiratory arrest, Dr. Patel adds.
Both docs agree, there is no single marker of an asthma attack. Its more about looking at the overall picture: When an asthma attack is brewing, patients start to lose control of their asthma, Dr. Sporter explains.
That means feeling things worse than normal, or at a time when you normally dont, like exercising or standing still. Also, waking up at night with asthma symptoms is a very significant sign of poor or worsening asthma control, Dr. Sporter adds.
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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
Asthma Action Plans For Children
An asthma action planis a clear written summary of instructions for when your childs asthma symptoms change. Everyone with asthma should have a personalised asthma action plan written by their doctor.
Your childs asthma action plan will tell you:
- how to recognise when your childs asthma is getting worse or an attack is developing, and the steps you should take to manage it
- symptoms that are serious, indicating a need for urgent medical help
- your childs asthma triggers.
Make sure you understand and can follow the asthma action plan from your doctor.
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What Causes Asthma Flare
People with asthma have airways that are overly sensitive to some things . Being around triggers can bring on asthma symptoms.
The most common trigger in kids are viral respiratory infections, such as colds. Other common triggers include:
- viral infections
Many people with asthma also have allergies, which are another important flare-up trigger.
If not treated, a flare-up can last for several hours or even days. Quick-relief medicines often stop the symptoms pretty quickly. A person should feel better once the flare-up ends, although this can take several days, especially if a viral infection was the trigger.
Copd And Aging: Everything You Need To Know
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is one of the most prevalent lung conditions, affecting more than 328 million people around the world and an estimated 16 million people in the United States alone.
Despite how common COPD is, its often overshadowed by other chronic illnesses like lung cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. A report published by the EMBO Journal found that, while COPD results in about 300,000 deaths per year nearly double that of lung cancer it received less than a third of the funding.
While the inequity in COPD research funding can only be addressed through political and social advocacy, healthy lifestyle choices remain the best way to prevent and treat COPD. And in order to make healthy lifestyle choices, you need to stay educated about how your lungs work. There are a lot of things to consider depending on what stage of your life youre in and whether or not youve already been diagnosed with COPD.
In this post, were going to address some key facts about aging and how it affects the prognosis of people with COPD and those who are at risk of contracting COPD. In the meantime, if you are interested in getting tested for COPD, be sure to consult your doctor immediately to start discussing your symptoms.
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What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Adult Onset Asthma
Regardless of age, asthma symptoms can include:
Dry cough, especially at night or in response to specific triggers
Tightness or pressure in the chest
Wheezing a whistling sound when exhaling
Shortness of breath after exercise or physical exertion
Colds that go to the chest or hang on for 10 days or more
Youre Coughing And Wheezing More During The Day
Another sign that your severe asthma may be getting worse is if youre coughing or wheezing more often than usual.
Talk with your doctor about adjusting your treatment plan if you constantly feel like youre about to cough. Also speak with them if you find yourself wheezing with a whistle-like sound more than once a day.
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Managing And Treating Asthma Symptoms
Asthma symptoms can usually be managed with the help of medications, most of which are breathed in through the mouth with the help of an inhaler. Sometimes systemic corticosteroids, which decrease inflammation, are needed for severe asthma attacks, and other medications can be used depending on the type and severity of your asthma.
Here are a few terms to know:
- Maintenance inhalers administer controller meds that are taken daily to keep asthma symptoms in check.
- Rescue inhalers deliver quick-relief medications to quickly open the airways and relieve asthma symptoms during a flare-up.
- Combination inhalers are used by people with severe asthma for long-term control of symptoms, and include both types of medication.
No matter the severity or frequency of flare-ups, everybody with asthma should work with their doctor to create an asthma action plan. This is a written set of instructions on how to manage your asthma, and usually includes:
What Are Pulmonary Function Tests
Pulmonary function tests include numerous procedures to diagnose lung problems. The two most common lung function tests used to diagnose asthma are spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide and challenge tests.
Spirometry This is a simple breathing test that measures how much and how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It is often used to determine the amount of airway obstruction you have. Spirometry can be done before and after you inhale a short-acting medication called a bronchodilator, such as albuterol. The bronchodilator causes your airways to expand, allowing for air to pass through freely. This test might also be done at future doctor visits to monitor your progress and help your doctor determine if and how to adjust your treatment plan.
Exhaled nitric oxide Nitric oxide is a gas that is produced in the lungs and has been found to be an indicator of inflammation. Because asthma is an inflammatory process, this test has become helpful in the diagnosis and management of asthma. The test is performed by having you breathe into a small, handheld machine for about 10 seconds at a steady pace. It then calculates the amount of nitric oxide in the air you breathe out.
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Why Is My Asthma Worse At Night
Asthma that gets worse at night is sometimes called nighttime asthma or nocturnal asthma. There are no definite reasons that this happens, but there are some educated guesses. These include:
- The way you sleep: Sleeping on your back can result in mucus dripping into your throat or acid reflux coming back up from your stomach. Also, sleeping on your back puts pressure on your chest and lungs, which makes breathing more difficult. However, lying face down or on your side can put pressure on your lungs.
- Triggers in your bedroom and triggers that happen in the evening: You may find your blankets, sheets and pillows have dust mites, mold or pet hair on them. If youve been outside in the early evening, you may have brought pollen in with you.
- Medication side effects: Some drugs that treat asthma, such as steroids and montelukast, can affect your sleep.
- Air thats too hot or too cold: Hot air can cause airways to narrow when you breathe in. Cold air is an asthma trigger for some people.
- Lung function changes: Lung function lessens at night as a natural process.
- Asthma is poorly controlled during the day: Symptoms that arent controlled during the day wont be better at night. Its important to work with your provider to make sure your asthma symptoms are controlled both day and night. Treating nighttime symptoms is very important. Serious asthma attacks, and sometimes deaths, can happen at night.