How Do You Know If Your Asthma Is Mild Moderate Or Severe
Asthma severity is typically classified as intermittent, mild, moderate, and severe. While there are several factors that play into the classification, here are some general guidelines:
- Intermittent asthma typically means your symptoms occur less than twice a week.
- If you have mild asthma, these symptoms might happen twice a week or more, but not daily.
- With moderate asthma, you can experience symptoms every day, but you wont regularly have multiple flares.
- Severe asthma is uncontrolled, meaning symptoms kick in virtually every day, several times a day despite regular medication.
While mild and moderate asthma usually improves with treatment, thats not typically the case with severe asthma.
These Are The Most Common Asthma Triggers
Among those who have asthma, symptoms present in various ways and for some more often than for others. While some people experience asthma symptoms on a daily basis, others have symptoms only when they encounter specific triggers.
Some common asthma triggers are:
- Airborne allergens or irritants, including dust, pollen, mold, and pet hair
- Infections, including the flu, sinusitis, and, in some cases, upper respiratory tract infections
- Smoke or chemical fumes
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 âAsthma Action Planâ 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 .
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How Long Does It Take For An Asthma Flare
Every persons asthma is unique. Most people will experience several different types of asthma flare-ups as they go through life. However, everyones asthma flare-ups will take different length of time to recover from and get back to normal. Some people can feel more normal after just a few hours, while others may take a week or more to recover..
What Can You Do If Your Child Has Been Diagnosed With Asthma
If your child has just been diagnosed with asthma, know that you are not alone. Asthma Canada and your healthcare team have many available to you.
- Start by learning as much as you can about the . Work closely with your childs healthcare provider to monitor your childs asthma symptoms. Ask questions and clarify any information you are unsure about.
- Reach out to Asthma Canadas FREE Asthma & Allergy HelpLine to speak with a Certified Respiratory Educator.
- Begin keeping a diary to keep track of what non-allergic affect your childs asthma. This will help you identify your childs triggers, and develop strategies to avoid them.
- Learn all you can about your childs . This includes possible side effects of medication and the appropriate technique for administering medication.
- Ask you healthcare provider about developing a Kids Asthma Action Plan. And Asthma Action Plan monitors asthma symptoms and has a written plan to follow when symptoms change.
- Join Asthma Canadas membership alliance to connect with other Canadians living with asthma or impacted by asthma.
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Second Stage: Mild Persistent Asthma
Although this stage is still relatively mild, asthma is beginning to become more noticeable and starting to interfere with your quality of life.
Symptoms. In mild persistent asthma, daytime symptoms are occurring 3 to 6 times a week. Nighttime symptoms interfere with sleep nearly every week, or 3 to 4 times a month. Flare-ups are more severe and may affect activity levels.
Lung function tests. As with intermittent asthma, the FEV1 is 80% or more above normal values. Peak flow readings show less than 20-30% variability.
Treatment. A low dose inhaled steroid will be used as a controller medication to prevent and control symptoms. Less common alternatives might include cromolyn, a leukotriene receptor antagonist , or theophylline. The doctor will also prescribe a quick-relief inhaler for flare-ups.
How To Treat An Asthma Flare
To treat asthma flare-ups, start by creating a plan with the help of your healthcare provider. An asthma action plan is a step-by-step guide to monitoring your asthma symptoms, as well as preventing, managing, and treating your asthma flare-ups. Include details about your medical history, allergies, medications, and emergency contacts so you can get help right away if needed.
If your child has asthma, you can distribute the asthma action plan to their teachers, school administrators, family, friends, and healthcare providers.
In addition to creating an asthma action plan, here are some of the steps you can take to treat an asthma flare-up:
Take quick-relief medications: Many people with asthma take quick-relief medications, usually through an inhaler, to open and relax the muscles in their airways right away. These bronchodilators are usually short-acting beta-agonists, such as albuterol.
Increasingly, combination inhalers that include the quick-acting, long-acting bronchodilator named formoterol are also being prescribed as daily controller medications and for treatment of asthma flares. If you have any questions about which inhaler you should use during a flare, talk with your healthcare provider.
See a specialist: If your asthma symptoms persist, your healthcare provider can refer you to a specialist to identify and treat the root cause.
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Signs That You Need To Use Asthma First Aid
If you are experiencing any of the following signs, follow your asthma action plan. If you do not have an asthma action plan, or you are assisting someone who is experiencing an asthma attack, start asthma first aid. Do not wait until asthma is severe.
Mild to moderate asthma signs :
- able to talk in full sentences
- able to walk or move around
- may have a cough or wheeze.
Severe asthma signs :
- cannot speak a full sentence in one breath
- tugging of the skin between ribs or at base of neck
- may have cough or wheeze
- reliever medication not lasting as long as usual.
Life-threatening asthma signs :
- getting little or no relief from reliever inhaler
- may no longer have wheeze or cough.
In asthma emergencies, follow your asthma action plan.
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.
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Having An Asthma Action Plan
You and your doctor will also put together an asthma action plan. This is a personalised set of instructions that includes a list of your usual asthma medications and doses, guidance on what to do in different situations , and your doctors contact details.
Lifestyle Changes To Help Severe Asthma
As well as medication, there are lifestyle changes you can make that can help.
- Maintain a healthy weight and exercise routine. If youre taking long-term high doses of oral corticosteroids, they can increase appetite and cause weight gain. It can be difficult to manage your weight with severe asthma, as your symptoms may make exercise more difficult, and you may lack energy and motivation if youre feeling unwell. But even by making small changes to your diet and activity levels, you can make a difference.
- Quit smoking. is a major risk factor for asthma attacks, as well as being associated with numerous other health problems. If you smoke and have asthma, you should try to quit. Seek help from your doctor, nurse or a smoking cessation group to help make the change.
- Do breathing exercises. Regularly practising breathing exercises can be beneficial as they help to improve lung capacity, strength and health. There are various methods suitable for asthmatics, some of which are taught by experts or physiotherapists, and theyre easy to learn and practice at home.
- Reduce your stress levels. To reduce stress which can be a key trigger for asthma incorporating yoga, meditation or mindfulness practice into your lifestyle may be helpful.
Useful treatment tools
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What Is An Asthma Flare Up Symptoms & Treatments
According to the CDC, over 19 million people have asthma. But because not everyone presents with traditional asthma symptoms, some people have asthma and dont even know it until they experience a severe flare up. To keep asthma under control, its important to be able to recognize flare up symptoms when they occur so you can work with your doctor to make necessary changes to medication. Even if you are a long-term asthma patient, your condition can always get progressively worse, so learning what is an asthma flare up is necessary for early treatment. Keep reading to learn more about asthma symptoms and how to recognize a flare up.
First Stage: Intermittent Asthma
At this stage, asthma is likely more of on occasional bothersome occurrence, rather than a disease that interferes significantly with day to day quality of life. I speak from experience — my asthma has been at this stage for some years, although when I was younger and living in a different climate, it was more severe.
Symptoms. With intermittent asthma, daytime symptoms generally occur less than twice a week. Nighttime symptoms that interfere with sleep occur less than twice a month. Although symptoms might intensify into a flare-up at times, severity varies and the flare is brief. In between flare-ups, there are no active symptoms.
Lung function tests. To aid with diagnosis and treatment, the doctor may order a lung function test that measures your ability to breathe effectively. The test is expressed in terms of FEV, or Forced Expiratory Volume, and the resultant FEV1 will be 80% or more above normal values. If a peak flow meter is used, the readings show less than 20% variability am-to-am or am-to-pm, day-to-day.
Treatment. In terms of treatment for intermittent asthma, a daily controller medicine is usually not needed. However, a quick-relief, or rescue, inhaler will be prescribed to be used when symptoms do arise or flare-up.
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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.
Is Benadryl Good For Asthma
Is Benadryl good for asthma? Yes, it can be. Benadryl is a sedating antihistamine that can help you fall asleep and thus, prevent an attack but it should not be used as a substitute for long-term asthma management. If you are taking Benadryl and the swelling and difficulty in breathing persists, visit the doctor immediately..
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Asthma Exacerbations Can Last A Week Or Longer
Patients can also experience worsening of several symptoms at once, Michael Blaiss, MD, from the University of Tennessee at Memphis, told Medscape Medical News.
Dr. Blaiss and his team conducted the Asthma Insight and Management survey to examine the reported duration of episodes with asthma symptoms that were frequent or severe.
The survey is the sequel to the Asthma in America study, which was done more than a decade ago.
Dr. Michael Blaiss
We wanted to know what has happened as far as asthma management in patients since that survey was done. We also added some new questions to get a better idea of how asthma was affecting the adult and adolescent population, Dr. Blaiss explained.
AIM quizzed 2500 asthma patients 12 years and older about duration of episodes with asthma symptoms that were frequent or severe. The participants were interviewed from July to September 2009.
Dr. Blaiss said he found it striking that patients reported a variety of symptoms.
Physicians often think that an asthma flare up will last 1 or 2 days and then be gone, but this survey shows that is not true, he added.
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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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Can You Have Asthma And Bronchitis At The Same Time
People with asthma can also have acute bronchitis. They may notice their asthma symptoms become worse as a consequence. They may experience:
- shortness of breath
- pain and discomfort when breathing
Sometimes, people with severe bronchitis and asthma may have to go to the hospital because mucus has clogged the airways into their lungs so much.
Tip : Know Your Fall Allergy Triggers
Leaves: Whats more fun than jumping in and rolling around a just raked, giant pile of colorful, fallen leaves? If you have asthma, that innocent pile of leaves may trigger your symptoms. Mold can grow on dead leaves when they become wet and can trigger asthma symptoms.Plus, the dryer, fall temperature makes it easier for mold spores to float in the air.
Wearing a KN95 mask to help you avoid breathing mold spores into your lungs.Wearing gloves, long sleeve shirts and long pants can help to keep mold off your skin. And once you come inside, it is important to remove your clothes and wash them as soon as possible to limit exposure to mold spores in your home. It may also be a good idea to take a shower to remove pollen and mold from your skin.
Ragweed can pollinate well into the fall causing allergy and asthma symptoms long past peak week in August. Hayrides, which are popular in the fall, can trigger symptoms as well. Be sure to take daily controller medicines as directed and always have a quick-relief inhaler available to use at the first sign of symptoms. If your allergies are severe, consider staying inside as much as you can during the day to avoid peak pollination times. Talk to your healthcare team to see if there are any additional measures you can take to control your allergies so you can enjoy the fall season without experiencing asthma symptoms.
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How Do You Calm An Asthma Flare Up
When having an asthma attack, its important that you sit up straight and remain as calm as possible. Do not lie down, as this can further inhibit your breathing. If you have a rescue inhaler, take one puff every 30 to 60 seconds, with a maximum of 10 puffs.
Some other techniques to help calm an asthma flare up are breathing exercises:
Pursed lip breathing
- Breathing in through the nose and out through pursed lips
- Breathing in through the nose with the hands placed on the belly, and out through the nose.
What Other Tools Can I Use For Monitoring Asthma Control
Peak Flow Meter
Sometimes doctors recommend a peak flow meter a handheld device that measures how well air moves out of your lungs. A peak flow meter, when used every day, can spot reduced airflow before you notice the signs and symptoms of an asthma episode.
Peak flow meter readings can help you monitor your asthma control. But they are just one tool. Your peak flow meter reading is not the only indicator of asthma control. Always follow your Asthma Action Plan.
Doctors use pulse oximeters to measure how much oxygen your blood is carrying. Some people with asthma may experience a drop in their oxygen levels in their blood.
Pulse oximeters you can buy online and use at home are not as accurate as medical grade devices. Monitoring your blood oxygen levels with pulse oximeters is not a recommended part of home management of asthma.
Lung Function Tests
Your allergist or pulmonologist may use different lung function tests to assess your asthma control. Learn more about the tests used to diagnose and monitor asthma.
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