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- 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
Fatigue And/or Reduced Exercise Tolerance
If you are feeling more tired and worn out than usual, it could be a warning sign that your asthma is beginning to flare. Your body is beginning to work overtime to compensate which in turn can make you feel more fatigued.
Reduced exercise tolerance is one that I tend to notice in myself. I am a pretty active person and some times I wont be able to complete a workout or even play very long with my children. Even though I might not be having super noticeable shortness of breath, I will become fatigued more easily and need to take more breaks or stop my workout/play session early.
What Types Of Asthma Are There
Asthma is broken down into types based on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Healthcare providers identify asthma as:
- Intermittent: This type of asthma comes and goes so you can feel normal in between asthma flares.
- Persistent: Persistent asthma means you have symptoms much of the time. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have symptoms. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma has multiple causes:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Allergens include things like molds, pollens and pet dander.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
Asthma can also be:
- Adult-onset: This type of asthma starts after the age of 18.
- Pediatric: Also called childhood asthma, this type of asthma often begins before the age of 5, and can occur in infants and toddlers. Children may outgrow asthma. You should make sure that you discuss it with your provider before you decide whether your child needs to have an inhaler available in case they have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
In addition, there are these types of asthma:
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Identifying And Controlling Asthma Triggers
Children with asthma have different sets of triggers. Triggers are the factors that irritate the airways and cause asthma symptoms. Triggers can change seasonally and as a child grows older. Some common triggers are cigarette smoke, allergens like dust, dust mites, and pet dander, viral infections, irritants like strong perfumes, exercise — which is often the most common asthma trigger — breathing cold air, and weather changes.
Identifying triggers and symptoms can take time. Keep a record of when symptoms happen and how long they last.
Once you spot patterns, you can avoid some of the triggers. Talk with your doctor about starting environmental control measures that will limit those allergens and irritants. Remember that allergies develop over time with continued exposure to allergens, so a child’s asthma triggers may change.
Others who provide care for your child, such as babysitters, day care providers, or teachers, must be informed about your child’s asthma treatment plan. Many schools have programs for their staff to learn about asthma and recognize severe symptoms.
Here are some suggested environmental control measures for different allergens and irritants:
To control dust mites:
To control pollens and molds:
To control irritants:
- Do not smoke at home, even when a child is not present.
- Do not burn wood fires in fireplaces or wood stoves.
- Avoid strong odors from paint, perfume, hair spray, disinfectants, chemical cleaners, air fresheners, and glues.
Distinguishing A Cold From Asthma
We all develop respiratory symptoms from time to time. Some babies struggle with nasal mucus and coughing as their bodies learn how to function outside the womb. Babies also get sick sometimes. Its far from ideal. We can reduce the risk by ensuring that all of Babys visitors wash their hands and wear a mask, but sometimes it just happens.
Both viral illness and asthma can be dangerous for your little one, so it is important to seek medical attention whenever your child is experiencing any respiratory distress. However, only one of these two will continue to affect your child for years to come. Fortunately, there are a few give away signs that indicate a need to talk to an asthma specialist in NYC.
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Anticipating And Preventing Asthma Flare
Patients with asthma have long-term or chronic inflammation of their airways. Inflamed airways tend to constrict whenever they are exposed to a trigger . Some children with asthma may have increased inflammation in the lungs and airways every day without knowing it. Their breathing may sound normal and wheeze-free when their airways are actually narrowing and becoming inflamed, making them prone to a flare-up. To better assess a child’s breathing and determine risk for an asthma attack , breathing tests may be helpful, but in your home, health care professionals are more likely now to use a simple color-coded system to help you assess what kind of treatment your child needs.
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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How Is Asthma Diagnosed
Asthma can be hard to diagnose. To find out if you have asthma, your health care provider takes your health history, does a physical exam and listens to your breathing.
You also may get a lung function test called spirometry. This is a test that checks how well your lungs work. During the test, you take a deep breath and exhale into a machine called a spirometer. This machine measures the amount of air you breathe in and out. It also measures how fast you can breathe. When youre pregnant, normal changes in your body can make you short of breath. This test can help your provider know if shortness of breath is a common complication of pregnancy or if its caused by asthma.
Signs And Symptoms Of Flare Up
Mild to Moderate
What can you do to prevent this happening again?
If you have had an asthma attack or ended up in a hospital or an emergency department, it means that your asthma is not under your control.
When youve had an asthma flare-up you need to see your doctor within 3 days to review your asthma and update your Asthma Action Plan to discuss:
- What is your current level of asthma control how do we improve it?
- How well are your asthma medicines working can we improve their use?
- What triggered your asthma attack can you avoid the trigger, or how to respond better to the trigger next time to avoid an asthma attack?
- Are there any other factors that might be affecting your asthma control how do we reduce their impact on your asthma?
For more support about managing asthma, talk to us. 1800 ASTHMA is a no-charge service open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. You can get in touch with us through phone, or by booking in a call-back.
To help get back on track after your visit to the emergency department or hospital after an asthma attack visit our after hospital page.
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Are Asthma Medicines Safe When You’re Breastfeeding
Asthma medicines do get into your breast milk, but the amounts are very low and are safe for the baby. If you take high doses of certain asthma medicines, like theophylline, your baby may become irritable or have trouble sleeping. To help prevent this, take your asthma medicines 3 or 4 hours before the next feeding. Your provider and your babys provider can help you adjust your medicine schedule so you and your baby can get the health benefits of breastfeeding.
Last reviewed: November, 2013
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.
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Early Warning Signs Of Asthma Attack
Early warning signs of an asthma attack are changes that happen before or at the very beginning of an asthma attack. It is a way your body is trying to let you know that you are about to have an asthma attack. Early warning signs vary amongst individuals. To know your individual signs, you will have to learn it from your previous asthma experience. Once you managed to recognise these signs, you may be able to stop an asthma episode or prevent one from getting worse. These signs are not severe enough to stop a person from going about his or her daily activities. It may precede the asthma attack by days or hours or just as it began.
These signs include:
A frequent cough that doesnt go away, especially at night Lower peak flow meter readings Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath Feeling very tired or weak when exercising Wheezing or coughing during or after exercise Difficulty breathing after exercise Trouble sleeping and nighttime asthma Mood change easily upset, irritable or extra quiet Signs of a cold or allergies Tightening of your chest or a feeling that something is sitting on your chest Itchy chin Itchy, glassy or watery eyes Stomach ache Change in face colour pale or flushed Throat clearing Eczema flare-up
What Are The Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
The most common symptoms include:
Mild to Severe
- Disrupted sleep due to asthma symptoms & breathing difficulty
- Daytime symptoms 2 or more times per week
- Inability to exercise normally without breathing issues
- Getting a cold/flu
If you experience any of the above symptoms, book an urgent appointment with your healthcare provider. An asthma attack could be on its way. The timely help can prevent dangerous consequences.
- Excessive cough, wheeze and chest tightness
- Difficulty speaking due to asthma
- Experiencing shortness of breath at rest
- Lips or nail beds turning blue
- Reliever medication isnt helping
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Know The Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack is the episode in which bands of muscle surrounding the airways are triggered to tighten. This tightening is called bronchospasm. During the attack, the lining of the airways becomes swollen or inflamed and the cells lining the airways produce more and thicker mucus than normal.
All of these factors — bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production — cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty performing normal daily activities. Other symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
- Coughing that won’t stop
- Feelings of anxiety or panic
- Pale, sweaty face
- Blue lips or fingernails
The severity of an asthma attack can escalate rapidly, so it’s important to treat these asthma symptoms immediately once you recognize them.
Without immediate treatment, such as with your asthma inhaler or bronchodilator, your breathing will become more labored. If you use a peak flow meter at this time, the reading will probably be less than 50%. Many asthma action plans suggest interventions starting at 80% of normal.
As your lungs continue to tighten, you will be unable to use the peak flow meter at all. Gradually, your lungs will tighten so there is not enough air movement to produce wheezing. You need to be transported to a hospital immediately. Unfortunately, some people interpret the disappearance of wheezing as a sign of improvement and fail to get prompt emergency care.
How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma
It can be hard to tell if someone has asthma, especially in children under age 5. Having a doctor check how well your lungs work and check for allergies can help you find out if you have asthma.
During a checkup, a doctor will ask if you cough a lot, especially at night. He or she will also ask whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or at certain times of year. The doctor will then ask about chest tightness, wheezing, and colds lasting more than 10 days. He or she will ask whether anyone in your family has or has had asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems. Finally, the doctor will ask questions about your home and whether you have missed school or work or have trouble doing certain things.
The doctor may also do a breathing test, called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working by testing how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath before and after you use asthma medicine.
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What Should I Do If I Think I Have Asthma
If you think that you have asthma, the best thing you can do is see your healthcare provider as soon as possible for proper testing and diagnosis. Many people normalize their symptoms, without ever realizing that a symptom-free life could be possible. Its crucial to never ignore or downplay your asthma symptoms, you never know when something could trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack.
The sooner that you get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, the sooner you can take control of your asthma and live life to the fullest.
What Asthma Treatment Options Are There
You have options to help manage your asthma. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to control symptoms. These include:
- Bronchodilators: These medicines relax the muscles around your airways. The relaxed muscles let the airways move air. They also let mucus move more easily through the airways. These medicines relieve your symptoms when they happen and are used for intermittent and chronic asthma.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medicines reduce swelling and mucus production in your airways. They make it easier for air to enter and exit your lungs. Your healthcare provider may prescribe them to take every day to control or prevent your symptoms of chronic asthma.
- Biologic therapies for asthma: These are used for severe asthma when symptoms persist despite proper inhaler therapy.
You can take asthma medicines in several different ways. You may breathe in the medicines using a metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer or another type of asthma inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.
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How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Asthma
Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, including information about your parents and siblings. Your provider will also ask you about your symptoms. Your provider will need to know any history of allergies, eczema and other lung diseases.
Your provider may order spirometry. This test measures airflow through your lungs and is used to diagnose and monitor your progress with treatment. Your healthcare provider may order a chest X-ray, blood test or skin test.
What Are The Early Symptoms Of Asthma
If you have asthma or you arent completely sure whether or not you suffer from it, the signs of an asthma attack may come on gradually and manifest themselves just as your regular symptoms at first. However, as the attack worsens, these symptoms may become more severe over time.
The initial signs of an asthma attack include:
- Feeling tired and easily worn out after exercising.
- Coughing frequently at night.
- Wheezing and coughing incessantly after working out.
- Becoming out of breath easily.
- Trouble getting a good nights rest.
- Cold and allergy symptoms like a runny nose, sore threat, or headache.
Being familiar with these signs and symptoms can help you control your asthma and prevent an asthma attack from getting severe. If you have not been previously diagnosed with asthma but suffer from any of these symptoms, it would be wise to consult with your doctor as soon as you can. They may be able to give you some recommendations for controlling these symptoms. From breathing exercises to carry around an inhaler, getting relief will likely be slightly different for all of us. It is important to discuss your options with your doctor and formulate a plan of action.
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