Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Dont have written asthma action plan from your doctor
- Use an inhaler, but dont 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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What To Do If Youre Having An Attack
Weve previously discussed what to do if youre having an asthma attack without your inhaler. Now lets talk about what to do if youre experiencing an asthma attack and do have your inhaler.
If youre having an asthma attack, take the following steps:
Its also important to see your doctor after an asthma attack, even if you feel better. Its possible that your asthma medications or asthma action plan may need to be adjusted. This can help to reduce your chances of having another asthma attack in the future.
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.
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What Are The Typical Symptoms Of Asthma
During an attack, breathing out is usually more difficult than breathing in. If the asthma gets worse, a whistling or rattling sound known as “wheezing” may be heard while breathing out. The person might have to cough or feel the urge to cough a lot.
During an attack, breathing difficulties, coughing or wheezing that is only minor at first can worsen and develop into more serious shortness of breath. Because it becomes more and more difficult to breathe out, it also becomes difficult to breathe in. Worsening shortness of breath is often associated with chest tightness a situation that can be frightening.
Being frightened can make the symptoms even worse. Seeing your child, or someone else you are close to, gasping for breath is an alarming experience and difficult to cope with.
But the situation only becomes dangerous if the labored and exhausting breathing leads to a lack of oxygen. This can usually be avoided by using effective medication.
Evaluating Shortness Of Breath
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may evaluate your shortness of breath by using pulse oximetry to estimate the amount of oxygen in your blood, an EKG, a chest x-ray, blood work, or pulmonary function tests.
Its important to note that while you may suffer from COPD or asthma, your symptoms can still be managed and allow you to lead a normal life with the right health care team working with you.
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Thunderstorms And Extreme Weather Can Be A Threat To Asthma Control
In hot summer conditions, extreme weather such as thunderstorms become more prevalent. Experts aren’t entirely sure why but have identified that such weather conditions can trigger asthma attacks, sometimes severe.
It may be the airflow patterns during thunderstorms that cause this effect, rather than electrical activity such as thunder and lightning. It seems likely that these airflow patterns could result in more concentrated levels of pollen and mold, which could be one explanation for the increase in asthma attacks during thunderstorms.
Regardless of the reason, extreme weather definitely has had an impact on some of us asthmatics.
Conditions That Mimic Asthma
There are a number of conditions that can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. While most are related to the lungs and respiratory system, others are associated with other organ systems, such as the heart.
When investigating potential asthma, your healthcare provider will consider all possible causes of your breathing difficulty in a process called differential diagnosis. This is a process of elimination based on your symptoms and test results.
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Is It Because I Quit Smoking
But you may not realize that when you stop lighting up, you can have short stints where you cant catch your breath.
As you smoke, you damage your lungs. It can take a while for them to heal once youve stopped. Aside from trouble breathing, you can have:
- Craving for cigarettes or nicotine
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma
People with asthma usually have obvious symptoms. These signs and symptoms resemble many respiratory infections:
- Chest tightness, pain or pressure.
With asthma, you may not have all of these symptoms with every flare. You can have different symptoms and signs at different times with chronic asthma. Also, symptoms can change between asthma attacks.
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What Do The Talk With The Doctor And The Physical Examination Involve
Asthma is diagnosed based on an in-depth talk with a doctor followed by a physical examination. The symptoms associated with can also be signs of other health problems, so when you describe your symptoms to the doctor, it’s important to tell him or her everything you have observed and experienced related to the symptoms. This includes worries and concerns, as well as ways that the symptoms affect everyday life. Any of these clues may help to track down the cause.
In order to get a clearer picture, your doctor will ask you a number of questions, such as
- what symptoms occur and when,
- under what conditions they go away,
- whether you have any other illnesses, especially allergies,
- whether you frequently had coughs or wheezing as a child,
- whether anyone in your family has or any allergies,
- whether you are taking medication and, if so, which medication.
- whether you are exposed to specific substances at home or at work, and
- whether you have any particular physical or emotional problems.
In the physical examination the doctor will then check your general health as well as the function of your lungs, heart and circulation. This is also done to rule out any other illnesses.
What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack
If you have a severe asthma attack, you need to get immediate medical care.
The first thing you should do is use your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than a maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should use the rescue inhaler when symptoms are bothering you and you can use it more frequently if your flare is severe.
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.
- Very quick or rapid breathing.
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How Severe Is The Asthma
Asthma symptoms can range from an occasional, slight urge to cough to extreme shortness of breath during an attack. Asthma used to be classified into four general severity categories, mostly depending on how frequent and how severe the symptoms were. Nowadays, asthma symptoms tend to be assessed based on how effectively they are being managed. According to this approach, there are three levels of severity: controlled, partly controlled, and uncontrolled asthma.
This classification is based on factors such as
- how many times a week someone has symptoms during the day,
- how much their daily activities are affected by the ,
- whether they also have symptoms at night, and
- how much the affects their lung function.
The frequency of acute episodes with shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness is also taken into account.
Pollen Levels Are On The Rise
Starting in the spring, pollen levels begin to rise in the air you breathe. In the early to late spring, trees are blooming and sending out millions of pollen particles. Then late spring into summer, when hot temperatures are first beginning to be felt, depending on where you live, its grass pollen. And finally, in late summer, when temps are often at their highest levels, its weed pollen that is in play.3
If you have allergic asthma, pollen can be a powerful trigger. I know its one of my worst asthma triggers.
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What Happens During An Asthma Flare
During a flare-up, you might have:
- trouble breathing
- a whistling sound when you breathe
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.
Know The 4 Steps Of Asthma First Aid
Its important for everyone in the community to know the 4 steps of asthma first aid.
One of the most common reliever medications in Australia is salbutamol, often known as your blue puffer. These are available over the counter from a chemist.
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.Call triple zero immediately if:
- the person is not breathing
- their asthma suddenly becomes worse or is not improving
- the person is having an asthma attack and theres no reliever medication available
- the person is unsure if it is asthma
- the person is known to have anaphylaxis. If this is the case, ALWAYS GIVE ADRENALINE AUTOINJECTOR FIRST, and then reliever, even if there are no skin symptoms.
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Ask Your Doctor About Effective Medicines
If you know you have allergies, over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays will help minimize your allergic reaction. Start your allergy medicines a week or two before allergens are due to come out, counsels Dr. Raub. He also recommends prescription medicines like Singulair with your doctors consent to prevent both asthma and allergy attacks.
Ways To Manage Your Springtime Asthma
If youre one of the 25 million Americans who suffer from asthma, the allergens of spring can make it difficult to breathe.
Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways of the lungs become inflamed and narrow, often due to one or more triggers in the environment. Up to 80 percent of children and half of adults with asthma experience attacks when they come in contact with specific allergens.
During the spring, tree pollens, mold spores and grass all have the power to inflame and narrow the air passages of people who are sensitive to these natural triggers. Wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing are some of the common symptoms that occur during an asthma attack.
Among the most common triggers for asthma are:
- Outdoor allergens
- Indoor allergens, including pets, dust mites and smoke
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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.
Move Away From Triggers
The presence of asthma triggers wont only cause an attack, they can also make your symptoms worse. Be sure to try to get away from things that may be triggering your asthma attack.
For example, if youre in an area where people are smoking cigarettes, you should move away promptly.
Its also important to know your triggers. Common triggers include:
- Allergens, such as pet dander, pollen, or certain foods
- Irritants, such as tobacco smoke or pollution
- Stress or anxiety
- Some medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or beta-blockers
- Respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu, or mycoplasma
- Breathing in cold, dry air
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Be Aware Of Your Asthma Warning Signs And Triggers
Knowing the warning signs of an asthma attack and avoiding asthma triggers is important to limiting the attack from getting worse. Its important to know that everyone with asthma does not take the same medicine. You need to speak with your doctor to know exactly what type of medication you need and how and when to take it.
What Is An Asthma Attack
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs. During an asthma attack, the airways become narrower than normal and can cause difficulty breathing.
The severity of an asthma attack can range from mild to very serious. Some asthma attacks may require prompt medical attention.
The preferred way of treating an asthma attack is to use a rescue inhaler, which contains medication that expands your airways.
But what if youre having an asthma attack and dont have your rescue inhaler available? There are several things that you can do while you wait for your symptoms to subside or for medical attention. Read on to learn more.
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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.
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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People Cant Die From Asthma
Sadly, when an asthma attack occurs without proper care, death can occur. Ten Americans die every day due to asthma. Most of the deaths happen due to lack of oxygen supply and not because of a cardiac arrest. Hence, it is important to note that providing timely oxygen supply to asthmatic patients can avert deaths. In fact, a life-threatening asthma attack actually indicates an increase in the chance of them occurring again.
How To Prevent Vocal Cord Dysfunction
VCD can reoccur in patients who have gone through treatment. But prevention is all about behavioral changesremembering to relax, keep your body up straight and use your diaphragm to breathe, Bettina says. VCD symptom flareups can happen again, but usually patients just need a reminder of the techniques theyve learned.
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Vaping And Lung Damage
- Talk with your teen about the dangers of vaping.
- Vaping can cause severe lung damage. It can become permanent.
- Vaping can even cause death .
- Vaping tobacco also causes nicotine addiction.
- For these reasons, the legal age to purchase vaping products is 21 in the US.
- Encourage your teen to not start vaping or to give it up.
- Warning: home-made or street-purchased vaping solutions are the most dangerous.
Develop A Plan Of Action
If you suffer from asthma, speak with your doctor or allergy specialist to create a personalized asthma action plan to control your symptoms. The asthma action plan should outline your daily treatment and include the medications you take . Also, your plan should describe how to control both long and short-term treatments and how to control worsening asthma and/or asthma attacks. The plan should explain when to call the doctor and when to seek emergency medical treatment.
If your child has asthma, be sure all caregivers are aware of the symptoms to look for and when to act. Caregivers should include teachers, babysitters, daycare workers, camp counselors, and anyone your child interacts with outside of your presence. This could include friends and neighbors your child spends time with.
Do not make medication changes without first discussing it with your doctor. Always consult your medical professional for advice and consultation about your particular medical history and situation.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has developed a standard Asthma Action Plan available here:
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