What Should I Know About Covid
If you have asthma that is moderate-to-severe, or if your asthma symptoms arent well controlled, youre at greater risk of having to be hospitalized if you get COVID-19. Therefore, you should wear a mask if you go to indoor spaces with other people, get vaccinated and avoid exposure to people who have the virus.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Many people live fulfilling lives with asthma. Some professional athletes with asthma have set records in their sports. Your healthcare provider can help you find the best way to manage your asthma. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to control your symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/19/2022.
What Are The Signs Of An Asthma Flare
Asthma flare-ups can vary in strength and length. They can happen without warning, causing sudden coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
Flare-ups should be treated right away. So its important to know their early warning signs, including:
- restless sleep or coughing that prevents sleep
- mild chest tightness or wheezing
If the flare-up is severe, a kid might:
- struggle to breathe or have fast breathing even when sitting still
- be unable to speak more than a few words at a time without pausing
- have retractions while breathing in
Because they can be life-threatening, flare-ups demand attention. Your child might need to take quick-relief medicine , visit the doctor, or even go to the hospital.
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How Is A Severe Asthma Attack Diagnosed
A healthcare provider will perform a lung function test to determine the severity of your asthma. There are different types of lung function tests using different types of devices to measure your airflow, including:
- Spirometry: During a spirometry test, the patient will breathe into a tube that is attached to a laptop or a machine called a spirometer. As you breathe, the spirometer will measure how much and how fast air goes in and out. You can expect your provider to do this test before and after you take a medication to open up your airways, called a bronchodilator, to see if there is improvement with medication.
- Peak expiratory flow : Peak flow measures the amount of air you can forcefully exhale. This form of measurement is helpful in monitoring severity, but is not used for diagnosing asthma.
- Fractional exhaled nitric oxide :Asthma causes the lungs to become inflamed and produces a substance called nitric oxide. This test measures the amount of nitric oxide to determine how much inflammation is in the lungs.
- Provocation: During a provocation test, a healthcare provider will introduce different allergens to see how your body reacts and how you respond when medication is administered.
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Individual Triggers May Serve As Warning Signs
One of the neat things about asthma is that it communicates with you, letting you know when you are around one of your asthma triggers. How it communicates is by presenting you with early warning signs of asthma.
These signs include chest tightness, anxiety, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, headache, itchy chin, and neck, etc.
To learn your individual symptoms, you will actually have to experience an asthma attack. However, by observing the signs, and learning them, you can actually prevent future asthma attacks. So, once you observe your early warning signs, consider yourself “forewarned” that you are around something that is triggering your asthma, and it’s time to stop what you are doing, remove yourself from the situation, and treat yourself according to your asthma management plan, if necessary.
When To Call 999
Dont delay getting help if you have an asthma attack. Call 999 if your reliever isnt helping, or lasting four hours, or youre worried at any time.
An asthma attack is a real emergency, and could be life-threatening, says Asthma UKs in-house GP, Dr Andy Whittamore.
Getting help when you need it is so important, to make sure youre treated quickly. Never think youre wasting anyones time.
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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.
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 harmCall 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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Can Severe Asthma Go Away
Severe asthma is a long-term condition, and some people have it for life.
However, around half of children with asthma grow out of it by the time they reach adulthood. As their bodies develop, their airways mature and respond more effectively to airway inflammation and irritants. Their symptoms can decrease and sometimes disappear completely by the time they start school, especially if they only wheezed during viral infections and theres no family history of allergic reactions. However, some outgrow it only for it to return when theyre older.
How Do You Monitor Asthma Symptoms
You should keep track of your asthma symptom. Its an important piece of managing the disease. Your healthcare provider may ask to use a peak flow meter. This device measures how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It can help your provider make adjustments to your medication. It also tells you if your symptoms are getting worse.
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Symptoms Of A Severe Asthma Attack
If you suddenly experience a severe asthma attack, then you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- A bluish tint to your lips, face or fingernails
- Feeling that you need to stand up or sit in order to try and breathe more easily
- Feeling confused or agitated
- Being unable to speak in full sentences
- Feeling very short of breath and unable to inhale or exhale fully
- Rapid breathing
- Symptoms that dont get better after using a reliever inhaler.
With a very severe asthma attack, the usual symptoms of wheezing or coughing might not worsen. This is because your airways may be so affected that you cant get enough air in or out of your lungs to cause wheezing sounds or make you cough.
It is a medical emergency and you should go to a hospital immediately. Compared to mild asthma attacks that may only last a few minutes, severe asthma attacks can last from hours to days and may be life-threatening if left untreated.
Be Prepared With An Asthma Action Plan
One of the best ways to monitor your symptoms and be prepared should an asthma attack occur is with an Asthma Action Plan. Its a personalized, step-by-step document you create with your doctor that will help you understand how to best treat your asthma symptoms before they get worse. Depending on your current symptoms, your asthma will fit into one of three zones:
Your symptoms are mild or virtually nonexistent. This is where you should be on a daily basis. Continue to take your long-term control medicine as prescribed.
You may have worsening asthma symptoms or have to use your quick-relief medicine more often. You should be aware of your surroundings, take all medicines as directed, and tell your doctor about your symptoms.
This may be an emergency situation where symptoms are significant. You should seek medical help right away.
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Its Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
It might feel like taking deep breaths of very cold air on a winter day. Your breathing becomes harder and may hurt. You may cough and wheeze. Is this an asthma attack?
If you have asthma, you already know that it makes the airways of your lungs swell and narrow. The wheezing that sometimes you can hear, sometimes only a physician can hear, is when air is trying to squeeze through those little airways, explains Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center. While no one knows for sure what causes asthma, its most likely a combination of inherited and environmental factors.
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What Happens If An Asthma Attack Goes Untreated
Without immediate asthma medicine and asthma treatment, your breathing may become more labored, and wheezing may get louder. If you use a peak flow meter during an asthma attack, your reading will probably be less than your personal best.
As your lungs continue to tighten during the asthma attack, you may be unable to use the peak flow meter at all. Gradually, your lungs may tighten so much during the asthma attack that there is not enough air movement to produce wheezing. This is sometimes called the “silent chest,” and it is a dangerous sign. You need to be taken to a hospital immediately with a severe asthma attack. Call 911 for help. Unfortunately, some people interpret the disappearance of wheezing during the asthma attack as a sign of improvement and fail to get prompt emergency care.
If you do not receive adequate treatment for an asthma attack, you may eventually be unable to speak and can develop a bluish coloring around your lips. This color change, known as “cyanosis,” means you have less and less oxygen in your blood. Without immediate aggressive treatment in an emergency room or intensive care unit, you may lose consciousness and eventually die.
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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 Is Status Asthmaticus
Status asthmaticus is respiratory failure that comes with the worst form of acute severe asthma, or an asthma attack. If an attack comes on quickly and it doesnât respond to regular treatment, it can lead to status asthmaticus, If it happens, you may have to go to the hospital to get it treated. If you have a bad asthma attack and your rescue inhaler or your nebulizer doesn’t help, you need medical care right away.
If you have a steroid medicine at home , you can take a dose of it on your way to the emergency room.
Many people have asthma. And there are many treatments to manage it. Itâs important to follow the asthma action plan that you made with your doctor, avoid your triggers, take your medicine, and keep up with your doctor appointments.
Still, asthma attacks can happen, and some severe ones are an emergency.
With any asthma attack, never wait to see if it goes away on its own. It could worsen so much that you need to go to a hospital.
You may hear a severe asthma attack called a âsevere asthma exacerbation.â In its most severe form, you may hear it called status asthmaticus.
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Why Is My Reliever Inhaler Not Enough
Reliever inhalers relax your airways, which help breathlessness, but they do not treat airway inflammation. As well as the relaxing effect of a reliever inhaler, you need the anti-inflammatory effect of a preventer. Once airways are less inflamed, they are less sensitive to triggers such as cigarette smoke and viral infections.
Mold Allergy Symptoms And Causes
Mold is present both indoors and outdoors. It can also trigger both allergies and asthma attacks. If mold particles are floating through the air invisible to you, then you could inhale them as you go about your daily life without realizing.
Like other environmental allergens, mold spores can trigger hay fever-like symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Itchy/watery eyes
In patients with both mold allergy and asthma, asthma symptoms may be triggered by mold exposure. Signs of an asthma attack include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
Most symptoms caused by mold are uncomfortable, but not serious. However, there are certain allergic conditions that can be more severe. These include:
- Allergic fungal sinusitis. This is a type of sinus infection caused by an inflammatory response to fungus in the sinuses. The sinuses get blocked up with fungal debris and thick mucus.
- Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis or mycosis: Aspergillus fumigatus is a mold found in soil. It can cause an inflammatory damage in the lungs, which is more common in patients with asthma or cystic fibrosis.
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis: This rare immune system disorder which is triggered by airborne particles including mold spores. It causes swelling in the alveoli of your lung which make it more difficult for the oxygen to reach your bloodstream.
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Treatment Of Children Asthma Attack
Based on the childrens history and severity of symptoms, the doctor will make a care plan known as an asthma action plan. This plan contains information on how much and when the medications should be used. The medicines approved for the children are given in doses according to their age, weight and immune system. There are mainly two types of asthma medications:
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Testing For Severe Asthma
Before you can be tested for severe asthma, you will need a referral from your primary healthcare asthma provider to either an asthma specialist or allergy specialist . The specialist will review your medical history, your current asthma treatment plan and do a physical exam to assess your symptoms. If the specialist thinks you may have severe asthma, they will discuss additional testing with you to determine your specific type. This often starts with testing to identify a biomarker.
Biomarkers help determine what is causing the inflammation in your airways. Taking a blood sample, analyzing a mucus sample or taking a breathing test that measure substances in your breath droplets are all common tests doctors use. These tests are performed in a doctors office or an outpatient clinic setting. Your specialist will recommend one or more of these tests based on your medical history and current symptoms. Once the biomarkers are identified, your doctor can determine the type of severe asthma and the different treatment options that are available to treat that specific type.
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Asthma Is A Complex Condition
Occasionally, people with asthma experience what are known as silent symptoms. This is where the signs of the tightening of the airways dont result in the familiar asthma sounds of wheezing and coughing. If you or someone you live with, work with, or care for experiences silent symptoms, it is important they consult a doctor for an ongoing Asthma Action Plan. People around the person with asthmasuch as co-workers, school teachers or daycare educators should know about the silent symptoms so they can respond if needed. Asthma can start at any age, and can be more of a problem when it starts in older adults. Dont assume if you never had asthma as a child that its not possible to develop symptoms now. Being breathless is not a normal part of getting older, it should always be checked out by a doctor.
Prevention And Management Of Severe Asthma
Alongside taking your medication as prescribed, the best way to reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks and worsening symptoms is to avoid triggers as much as possible.
As part of your asthma management plan, its important to monitor your severe asthma symptoms. Its useful to keep a written record of your symptoms, when they occur and any triggers that may be involved. For example, your symptoms might be triggered by environmental factors, such as seasonal pollen. For women, a change in hormone levels may make things worse.
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Is There Such Thing As A Hypoallergenic Cat
If you suffer from allergy induced asthma brought on by exposure to cats, but really want to care for a kitty of your own, you may want to consider a hypoallergenic breed. There is certainly no guarantee that these breeds will prevent your asthma attacks, however these cats have been specially bred to produce less of the problematic Fel D1 protein and may be a better choice for you.
Here are a few breeds of hypoallergenic cats that you may want to find out more about:
The need for inhaler frequently
Contact Oklahoma allergy and asthma clinic, OKOA for allergy treatment.
**Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended to be a doctors advice, nor does it create any form of patient-doctor relationship.