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What Causes Severe Asthma Attacks

What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack

Asthma Symptoms: What Causes Asthma Attacks?

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.

    Start The Nebulizer Treatment

    A nebulizer is like a more powerful rescue inhaler. It may contain the same medicine but at a much higher dose and over a longer period of time. It delivers a steady flow of bronchodilation medication to stop the constricting in the respiratory system.

    Albuterol is the main nebulizer medicine, but EMT may also add ipratropium to the machine. These two together are more effective than albuterol alone.

    The victim stays on the nebulizer until they are no longer wheezing. A nebulizer can increase the persons heart rate, which may already be fast because of the ordeal, so this is something theyll monitor, although a racing heart will not be their primary concern.

    Research For Your Health

    The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including asthma. Learn about the current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.

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    Is Asthma A Psychological Disorder

    Asthma is not a psychological or emotional disorder, but sometimes a physical display of strong emotion such as shouting, crying, laughing or rapid breathing may contribute to an asthma episode. Panic can prevent a person with asthma from relaxing and following instructions properly, which is essential during an attack. Medical scientists have found that behaviors associated with strong emotions can cause bronchial tubes to constrict, which may provoke or worsen an attack.A chronic disease, such as asthma, can cause emotional strain. Depression may set in when those with asthma believe they cannot participate in normal activities. As a leading cause of work and school absences, asthma can have a significant effect on livelihood, education and emotional well-being.

    Diagnosing Asthma In Children Younger Than 6

    Asthma symptoms in children, adults, and more

    It can be hard to tell whether a child under age 6 has asthma or another respiratory condition, because young children often cannot perform a pulmonary function test such as spirometry. After checking a childs history and symptoms, the doctor may try asthma medicines for a few months to see how well a child responds. About 40% of children who wheeze when they get colds or respiratory infections are eventually diagnosed with asthma.

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    Dna Sequencing And Genomics

    , one of the most fundamental technologies developed to study genetics, allows researchers to determine the sequence of nucleotides in DNA fragments. The technique of , developed in 1977 by a team led by , is still routinely used to sequence DNA fragments. Using this technology, researchers have been able to study the molecular sequences associated with many human diseases.

    As sequencing has become less expensive, researchers have of many organisms using a process called , which utilizes computational tools to stitch together sequences from many different fragments. These technologies were used to sequence the in the completed in 2003. New technologies are dramatically lowering the cost of DNA sequencing, with many researchers hoping to bring the cost of resequencing a human genome down to a thousand dollars.

    came about due to the ever-increasing demand for low-cost sequencing. These sequencing technologies allow the production of potentially millions of sequences concurrently. The large amount of sequence data available has created the subfield of , research that uses computational tools to search for and analyze patterns in the full genomes of organisms. Genomics can also be considered a subfield of , which uses computational approaches to analyze large sets of . A common problem to these fields of research is how to manage and share data that deals with human subject and .

    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.

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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:

    • Bengal
    • The need for inhaler frequently

    • Medication

    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.

    What Is Severe Asthma

    Asthma – Severe Attacks

    Someone with severe asthma has a specific type of asthma which doesnt get better with the usual medicines.

    Even if someone takes those medicines exactly as prescribed, a different approach is needed to control symptoms and reduce frequent asthma attacks.

    Other causes and triggers for the symptoms have also been ruled out as much as possible.

    Around 4 out of 100 people with asthma have severe asthma, which is about 200,000 people in the UK.

    If your GP or asthma nurse suspects you have severe asthma they may refer you to an asthma specialist clinic for an in depth assessment.

    Your GP or asthma nurse will continue to look after your asthma while you are waiting to see the specialist team and will continue to share responsibility for your care even when you are seeing them.

    We dont understand yet why some people get asthma and some people get severe asthma, says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UK’s in-house GP.

    We know that each individual with asthma can have different triggers and a different chemical reaction in their airways.

    Thats why Asthma UK is supporting research looking into what goes on in the body to cause severe asthma, and what makes it so much harder to control with the usual asthma medicines.

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    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
    • Sneezing
    • 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:

    • Coughing
    • 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.

    Can Yeasts Cause Allergies And Asthma

    Systemicyeast infections can cause chronic yeast allergies and asthma,creatingrespiratory distress,which affectsover 50 million Americans yearly.

    • In the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine 1995, Kaufman states that fungus has the ability to colonize the lungs and induce an inflammatory reaction. Resulting in asthmatic reactions calledfungal asthma.
    • Dr. C. A. Kaufman states each year in the US the fungi Histoplasma capsulatum, Blastomyces dermatitidis, and Coccidioides immitis cause more pulmonary infections than bacteria.
    • C.C. Kibbler says these fungi routinely infect persons with apparently normal immunity.

    Dr. C. Orion Truss, a pioneer in the study of systemic yeast infections and their relation to diseases and symptoms, states in his book that once the mucous membranes become inflamed by their allergic response to yeast products, infection begins to occur with great regularity at random sites from the nose to the lungs.

    Professor R.J. Hay states that hay fever or asthma due to molds like Aspergillus, Alternaria, and Penicillium account for up to 15% of respiratory allergies. That translates into one in six peoples allergies are beingcaused by fungi.

    In a 2005 study that was published in Environmental Health Perspectives in October of 2005, it was found that exposure to environmental yeasts and molds within the home before the age of 3 months, resulted in an increased incidence of allergic rhinitis by 5years of age.

    Dr. Atmika Paudel says

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    What Triggers Asthma Attacks

    When you experience an asthma attack, your airways narrow and it gets more difficult to breathe. An asthma attack can come on slowly and gradually, for example, if your usual symptoms arent so well controlled or if youve not been using your preventer inhaler as regularly as you should be. If youve got an upper airway infection then this can also trigger an asthma attack.

    Other factors that can trigger asthma attacks include a sudden change in the temperature and cold weather, environmental factors, allergens and even stress or certain foods and drinks.

    Blue Lips Or Fingernails

    Asthma Attack in Children: Causes, Early Warning Signs ...

    In a very severe attack, someones lips or fingernail beds might turn blue, says Streck.

    When youre having a hard time getting enough oxygen, the oxygen will first go to the organs that are vital to life, she says. The heart, lungs, and brain are still trying to get the oxygen as much as possible. Your fingernails and your lips can start turning blue because theyre not getting the oxygen like theyre supposed to, says Streck. If this happens its a severe sign that a person is not doing well. Theyre not getting enough oxygen in their extremities.

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    What Is An Asthma Attack

    An asthma attack occurs when your normal asthma symptoms suddenly get worse. The muscles around your airways get tighter known as a bronchospasm the lining in your airways becomes swollen and inflamed and you produce thicker mucus than normal.

    Together the bronchospasm, inflammation and mucus production create the symptoms of an asthma attack. Find out below what to do if you or a loved one suffers an asthma attack .

    If your asthma is under control through the use of prescribed preventer and reliever inhalers or other asthma medication, you may go a while without having an asthma attack. But sometimes exposure to common asthma triggers, such as cold air, smoke or even exercise, can trigger an asthma attack.

    Asthma attacks can be mild or severe. Its more common to experience mild asthma attacks, which may only last minutes. However, severe asthma attacks can last from hours to days and can be a medical emergency.

    When Should You Call A Doctor For An Asthma Attack

    If you think you or your child may have asthma, make an appointment with your health care provider. Some clues pointing to asthma include the following:

    • wheezing,
    • pain or tightness in your chest, and
    • recurrent, spasmodic cough that is worse at night.

    If you or your child has asthma, you should have an asthma action plan worked out in advance with your health care provider. This plan should include instructions on what to do when an asthma attack occurs, when to call the health care provider, and when to go to a hospital emergency department. The following are general guidelines only. If your provider recommends another plan for you, follow that plan.

    • Take two puffs of an inhaled beta-agonist , with one minute between puffs. If there is no relief, take an additional puff of inhaled beta-agonist every five minutes. If there is no response after eight puffs, which is 40 minutes, your health care provider should be called.
    • Your provider also should be called if you have an asthma attack when you are already taking oral or inhaled steroids or if your inhaler treatments are not lasting four hours.

    Although asthma is a reversible disease, and treatments are available, people can die from a severe asthma attack.


    If you are in the emergency room, treatment will be started while the evaluation is still going on.

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    Physical Exercise / Activities

    Exercise can also cause the symptoms of asthma because of a higher respiratory rate that leads to dryer air. This makes it difficult for your airways to breathe, resulting in lower stamina, cough, wheezing, and other asthma symptoms.

    This is called bronchoconstriction caused by exercise or asthma generally associated with exercise.

    Vaping And Lung Damage

    Paramedic Survives Severe Asthma Attack
    • 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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    Anyone Can Have A Severe Asthma Attack

    Anyone with asthma, even the mild kind, can have a severe asthma attack, often caused by something in the environment that causes a sudden flare-up or exacerbation of the normally-experienced asthma symptoms.

    This event is life-threatening, and the symptoms will continue to escalate unless action is taken on either the part of the patient or the loved one.During a severe attack, the airways become inflamed and contract to the point that little to no air can get through. The body also begins to over-produce mucous, intended to clear the airways of he irritant, but it ends up further blocking them.

    If this person is not removed from the stimuli contributing to severe asthma and/or has access to their rescue inhaler, asthma can exacerbate to the point of severe asthma.

    According to, a virus, such as a coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, can also trigger severe asthma in someone with mild to moderate asthma.

    And, of course, anyone who has asthma found out they had it after their first attack, so even someone who has never been diagnosed with asthma could potentially experience a severe attack the first time.

    Asthma Symptoms In A Severe Allergic Reaction

    People having a severe allergic reaction can also have asthma-like symptoms. If the person has an anaphylaxis action plan, follow the instructions. If they have known severe allergies and carry an adrenaline autoinjector , use that before using asthma reliever medication.In case of an emergency, call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.

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    Food And Food Additives Trigger Asthma

    Food allergies can cause mild to severe life-threatening reactions. They rarely cause asthma without other symptoms. If you have food allergies, asthma can be part of a severe, life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. The most common foods associated with allergic symptoms are:

    • Eggs
    • Salads
    • Fresh fruits

    Food preservatives can trigger isolated asthma, especially sulfite additives, like sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfite, which are commonly used in food processing or preparation.

    What Are The Signs Of An Asthma Flare

    Dealing with asthma attacks

    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 it’s 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.

    Following the instructions in your child’s asthma action plan can help you know what to do when a flare-up happens.

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    Being Prepared For An Asthma Emergency

    An asthma attack can range from mild to severe. A severe attack, also called an exacerbation, can be a medical emergency. Having an asthma action plan is the key to recognizing and managing an asthma emergency.

    Work with your doctor to come up with an asthma action plan. This plan shows when you are in the green zone , yellow zone or red zone . Your plan will also list instructions for what to do in each situation.


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