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What Are The Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack

Symptoms After An Asthma Attack

Know the symptoms of an asthma attack to save a life

How you feel after an asthma attack will depend on how severe the attack was and what triggered it.

If the attack was triggered by an irritant, such as cold weather, pollutants or allergens such as pollen, animal fur or dust, you should recover relatively quickly.

If your asthma attack was caused by an infection, such an upper airway infection, then it might take longer for you to recover. You may have symptoms such as fatigue and exhaustion after your asthma attack.

Do follow any recovery guidance given to you by a doctor or medical professional. Rest, drink plenty of fluids, take your medication and attend any necessary follow-up appointments.

If you havent seen your doctor or asthma nurse for a routine appointment recently, book one as soon as possible.

Asthma Can Be Managed

Sticking to your treatment plan can help prevent your asthma symptoms from worsening. If you are taking multiple treatments but still experiencing symptoms, you might need more help managing your condition. Your doctor may recommend a combination of prescription medications, complementary therapies, and lifestyle changes. These options can help you manage the condition more effectively.

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.

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When It Gets Worse

Signs of worsening asthma include:

  • Feeling panicky
  • Wheezing when you breathe both in and out
  • Inability to stop coughing
  • Having trouble talking or walking
  • Getting a tight neck and chest muscles
  • Having a pale, sweaty face

Follow the “Red Zone” or emergency instructions in your asthma action plan. Call 911 or get to the hospital. You need medical attention right away.

What Is An Asthma Action Plan

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Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop an asthma action plan. This plan tells you how and when to use your medicines. It also tells you what to do if your asthma gets worse and when to seek emergency care. Understand the plan and ask your healthcare provider about anything you dont understand.

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How Do You Stop An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler

If you are diagnosed with asthma, you should make sure you have an inhaler with you at all times. However, if a worst case scenario occurs and you experience when you dont have a reliever inhaler with you, there are practical steps you can take to ease your symptoms.

  • Stay as calm as you can find a way to reduce any anxiety, such as holding someones hand or playing music
  • Sit upright this will help keep your airways open
  • Breathe slowly and deeply slowing down your breathing can reduce the risk of hyperventilating
  • If something appears to have triggered your asthma, such as breathing in cold air or being exposed to smoke, move away from the trigger
  • Try breathing exercises the pursed lip breathing technique can help you deal with shortness of breath
  • Have a drink containing caffeine there is some evidence to suggest that caffeine can help improve airway function for up to four hours.

Asthma can be a life-threatening condition, so at the very least, aim to keep a spare reliever inhaler in your handbag, locker at work or coat pocket.

What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack

If you think you’re having an asthma attack, you should:

  • Sit upright and try to take slow, steady breaths. Try to remain calm, as panicking will make things worse.
  • Take 1 puff of your reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
  • If the ambulance has not arrived within 15 minutes, repeat step 2.
  • Never be frightened of calling for help in an emergency.

    Try to take the details of your medicines with you to hospital if possible.

    If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, get an urgent same-day appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse.

    This advice is not for people on SMART or MART treatment. If this applies to you, ask a GP or asthma nurse what to do if you have an asthma attack.

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    How Is Asthma Diagnosed

    Your health care provider may use many tools to diagnose asthma:

    • Physical exam
    • Medical history
    • Lung function tests, including spirometry, to test how well your lungs work
    • Tests to measure how your airways react to specific exposures. During this test, you inhale different concentrations of allergens or medicines that may tighten the muscles in your airways. Spirometry is done before and after the test.
    • Peak expiratory flow tests to measure how fast you can blow air out using maximum effort
    • Fractional exhaled nitric oxide tests to measure levels of nitric oxide in your breath when you breathe out. High levels of nitric oxide may mean that your lungs are inflamed.
    • Allergy skin or blood tests, if you have a history of allergies. These tests check which allergens cause a reaction from your immune system.

    Childhood Vs Adult Symptoms

    Asthma Symptoms: What Causes Asthma Attacks?

    Children and adults generally have similar symptoms. But, identifying asthma symptoms in children can be more difficult, especially in younger children who may not be able to tell you how they are feeling.

    Here are some things to watch for in your child that could indicate asthma:

    • Not being able to keep up with other children while running around
    • Having a hard time catching their breath or breathing faster than other children who are doing the same thing
    • Looks like they have a cold, which could actually be asthma
    • Coughing, especially at night
    • Wheezing
    • Feel restless, irritable and/or very tired

    What to do:

    STEP 1:;Immediately use a fast-acting reliever inhaler . Use a spacer if provided.STEP 2:;Check your symptoms. If they are gone, you can go back to your normal activities. If they symptoms get worse or do not improve within 10 minutes, this is an emergency. Follow the steps below.

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    What Happens During An Asthma Episode

    During normal breathing, the airways to the lungs are fully open. This allows air to move in and out of the lungs freely. Asthma causes the airways to change in the following ways:

  • The;airway branches leading to the lungs become overly reactive and more sensitive to all kinds of asthma triggers
  • The linings of the airways swell;and become inflamed
  • Mucus clogs;the airways
  • Muscles tighten;around the airways
  • The lungs have difficulty moving air in and out
  • These changes narrow the airways. Breathing becomes difficult and stressful, like trying to breathe through a straw stuffed with cotton.

    When Is It Serious

    To help you know when you need medical attention, use a peak flow meter every day so you know how much air typically flows out of your lungs. People with asthma have a lower air flow in and out of their lungs. By tracking your peak flow levels regularly, you can spot problems early before you experience annoying or dangerous symptoms. A meter will also tell you and your doctor how serious your asthma attacks are. That way youll know when to take medicine or seek emergency care. And peak flow readings can also help you pinpoint your asthma triggers.

    Some signs that your asthma is worse:

    Call your doctor or 911 if you experience extreme symptoms like blue lips or fingernails, or severe trouble breathing.

    If you need medical assistance, contact CareFinders at 1-866-608-FIND to make an appointment with a physician, or call 911 immediately if it is an emergency.

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    Why Do Asthma Attacks Happen

    An attack is usually triggered by something such as a viral infection, allergen, or irritant.2 Children are especially vulnerable to asthma attacks in damp environments and when they are exposed to secondhand smoke.3

    Asthma attacks are more likely for people whose asthma is not well controlled.1 People with mild and well-controlled asthma can also have an attack, especially when they have a cold.

    Speak with your health care provider about what to do if you have symptoms of an asthma attack. Your provider can give you a written asthma action plan that describes how to treat your asthma based on your symptoms.1

    Asthma Symptoms Childhood Vs Adult

    Severe Asthma Symptoms

    Childhood asthma symptoms are generally similar to adult asthma symptoms. However, determining asthma symptoms in children can be a bit more difficult. Adult asthma symptoms are easier to determine since an adult can tell you how they are feeling plus they know their body better. Although you can see and hear the coughing and shortness of breath in younger children, they may not be able to let you know how they are feeling. Plus young children are not able to do a breathing test called spirometry.

    • Not being able to keep up with other children while running around
    • Having a hard time catching their breath or breathing faster than other children who are doing the same thing
    • Looks like they have a cold, which could actually be asthma
    • Coughing, especially at night
    • Coughing so hard that they vomit
    • You may hear wheezing
    • If you notice any of these typical childhood asthma symptoms, see your doctor to find out if it is due to asthma.

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    Severe Asthma Attack Symptoms

    Symptoms of a severe asthma attack start as a minor asthma attack. You might feel mucus buildup and some chest pain due to your bronchial tubes narrowing. Youll likely wheeze and cough. Breathing is a challenge, especially during activities like walking. It can be difficult to talk as well.

    Given that these symptoms are like a minor asthma attack, what makes a severe asthma attack different? The key is treatment response. Youll know your asthma attack is severe if your symptoms dont improve with your routine treatment measures, such as your rescue inhaler. If you use a peak flow meter, reduced flow readings can show the severity of an asthma attack too. According to the Mayo Clinic, a peak expiratory flow of between 50 and 79 percent usually means you need treatment.

    Other signs of a severe asthma attack can include chest retractions, pale or blue skin, and, in children, drowsiness.

    What Are The Treatments For Asthma

    If you have asthma, you will work with your health care provider to create a treatment plan. The plan will include ways to manage your asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. It will include

    • Strategies to avoid triggers. For example, if tobacco smoke is a trigger for you, you should not smoke or allow other people to smoke in your home or car.
    • Short-term relief medicines, also called quick-relief medicines. They help prevent symptoms or relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. They include an inhaler to carry with you all the time. It may also include other types of medicines which work quickly to help open your airways.
    • Control medicines. You take them every day to help prevent symptoms. They work by reducing airway inflammation and preventing narrowing of the airways.

    If you have a severe attack and the short-term relief medicines do not work, you will need emergency care.

    Your provider may adjust your treatment until asthma symptoms are controlled.

    Sometimes asthma is severe and cannot be controlled with other treatments. If you are an adult with uncontrolled asthma, in some cases your provider might suggest bronchial thermoplasty. This is a procedure that uses heat to shrink the smooth muscle in the lungs. Shrinking the muscle reduces your airway’s ability to tighten and allows you to breathe more easily. The procedure has some risks, so it’s important to discuss them with your provider.

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    What To Make Of This

    The late phase is a lot more complex than I make it out to be here. But, this is all you need to know for now. Its this late phase that causes your more severe asthma attacks. Its usually the reason people get to the point they need to seek help for asthma. And many of our newer asthma medicines are aimed at this late phase.

    Asthma Attack A Guide To First Aid And Emergency Care For Asthma

    Understanding Warning Signs of an Asthma Attack

    Asthma can be an emergency. A sudden or severe asthma flare-up is sometimes called an asthma attack.

    An asthma flare-up is a worsening of asthma symptoms and lung function compared to what you would usually experience day to day. An asthma flare-up can come on slowly, over hours, days or even weeks, or very quickly, over minutes.

    If you or someone you care for are experiencing any of these signs, start asthma first aid.

    Do not wait until asthma is severe.

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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 Often Should You Take Peak Flow Measurements

    Peak flow readings can be taken on a regular basis or only at certain times. Regular monitoring may be useful when you are first diagnosed with asthma to determine your normal peak flow rates. Regular monitoring is also important when your asthma is unstable, or for those who do not notice symptoms when their asthma starts getting out of control. If your peak flow rate has dropped below your normal, you can act quickly to get control before it becomes serious.

    Triggers are the things that can cause your asthma symptoms. Each person has their own set of asthma triggers. Over time you can figure out what your asthma triggers are and take steps to reduce your exposure.

    There are two types of asthma triggers:

    • Allergens
    • Irritants

    Here are some tips that can help you stay active:

    • Do not start exercising if you have any asthma symptoms
    • Warm up by starting at a slower paceincrease the pace slowly
    • If you need to take a reliever inhaler before exercising, it should be taken about 10-15 minutes before the activity
    • If you develop asthma symptoms while exercising, stop immediatelyuse your reliever inhaler and do not start again unless your symptoms are completely gone.
    • Consider exercising indoors when outdoor conditions may trigger your asthma
    • When exercising in cold weather, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf or cold weather mask
    • If symptoms continue, your asthma may not be under controlwork with your health-care provider to improve your asthma management

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    Asthma Attacks In Infants And Children

    Infants with severe wheezing should be seen by a doctor.1 Infants have a higher risk of respiratory failure due to an asthma attack. Respiratory failure happens when too little oxygen passes from the lungs to the blood. Viruses cause most asthma attacks in infants, so the child may also have a fever.

    It can be difficult to tell how severe an attack is in young children and infants.1 The Table lists signs and symptoms of mild, moderate, and severe attacks.1 Some of these are the same signs as in adults. However, children have higher normal heart and breathing rates.

    What Happens When An Asthma Attack Goes Untreated

    Symptoms asthma attack

    An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms caused by the tightening of muscles around your airways . During the asthma attack, the lining of the airways also becomes swollen or inflamed, and thicker mucus, more than usual is produced.

    Various symptoms of an asthma attack may include:

    • Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
    • Coughing that wont stop
    • Very rapid breathing
    • Tightened neck and chest muscles, called retractions
    • Difficulty talking
    • Feelings of anxiety or panic
    • Pale, sweaty face
    • Blue lips or fingernails
    • Or worsening symptoms despite use of your medications

    The duration of an asthma attack can vary. It mostly depends on what caused it and how long the airways were inflamed. Mild episodes may last only a few minutes; more severe ones can last from hours to days. Mild attacks can resolve spontaneously or may require medication, typically a quick-acting inhaler.

    But in acute asthma attacks, if you do not receive adequate treatment, 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 it can even be life-threatening.

    Everyone who lives with allergic asthma can help protect their health by learning the basics of asthma first-aid.

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