What To Do In An Asthma Attack:
1. Sit up straight
2. Take your reliever medication as directed. Use your Asthma Action Plan for reference.
3. Call 911 if your symptoms persist or worsen. Do this if you feel worse at any point or if there is no improvement after taking your medication.
4. Follow-up with your doctor or healthcare provider
An asthma attack can be a life-threatening emergency thats why you should always carry your reliever inhaler with you and never hesitate to call 911 if your symptoms persist.
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 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.
What To Do When Having An Asthma Attack
If you have asthma, then its important that you know what to do and not do if you have an asthma attack.
Its hard to predict exactly when an asthma attack will occur, so its also important to discuss your condition with your family, friends and employer. Its essential that they all become better acquainted with what happens and how to react and help if you have an asthma attack.
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What Do I Do If I Have An Asthma Attack
If you or a loved one is having an asthma attack and the symptoms donât get better quickly after following the asthma action plan, follow the “red zone” or emergency instructions and contact your doctor or right away. You need urgent medical attention.
1. Give asthma first aid.
If the person doesn’t have an asthma plan:
- Sit them upright comfortably and loosen tight clothing.
- If the person has asthma medication, such as an inhaler, help them take it.
- If the person doesnât have an inhaler, use one from a first aid kit. Do not borrow someone elseâs. The medicine in it may be different than the needed rescue medicine. Also, using someone else’s inhaler has a slight risk of passing on an infection.
2. Use an inhaler with a spacer, if possible.
- Remove the cap and shake the inhaler well.
- Insert the inhaler into the spacer.
- Have the person breathe out completely and put their mouth tightly around the spacer mouthpiece.
- Press the inhaler once to deliver a puff.
- Have the person breathe in slowly through their mouth and hold their breath for 10 seconds.
- Give a total of four puffs, waiting about a minute between each puff.
3. Use an inhaler without a spacer, if necessary.
4. Continue using the inhaler if breathing is still a problem.
5. Monitor the person until help arrives.
- Do not mistake drowsiness as a sign of improvement; it could mean asthma is getting worse.
- Do not assume that the personâs asthma is improving if you no longer hear wheezing.
6. Follow up.
Why Might Someone With Asthma Be Without An Inhaler
However, this doesnt mean that everyone with asthma has an inhaler with them at all times. Often when someone has been living without symptoms for a long time, they may assume that their asthma has gone, and so get out of the habit of carrying one. Some people might develop symptoms suddenly for the first time as an adult, with no preparation. Others might just sometimes forget. Unfortunately, not having an inhaler wont stop an attack.;
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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.
Asthma: How Does It Affect The Body
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition causing a combination of variable respiratory symptoms which may include but are not limited to wheezing, shortness of breath, cough and excessive variation in lung function .
People with asthma have hypersensitivity to triggers that may set off symptoms. Triggers commonly include cigarette smoke, pollen, exercise and dust mites .
People may experience flare-ups when symptoms start or worsen. These require treatment and may become serious medical events .
Some individuals may only experience symptoms when exposed to a trigger, but others may experience symptoms all of the time .
Asthma is considered a spectrum of conditions with several recognised phenotypes that vary in severity .
It is estimated to affect 1 in 10 adults and 1 in 9 children in Australia, causing about 400 deaths annually. Over 2.7 million Australians have asthma, including children and adults .
Although it cannot be cured, if managed properly, those with asthma should be able to enjoy unhindered lives .
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Learn To Recognize The Emergency
It may seem obvious, but recognizing the severity of your asthma attack is an important step in getting things under control quickly and easily. Many asthmatics may figure they can ride out the discomfort, or are too shy to ask or demand help from those around them.
However, if you have any of the following symptoms, its time to take the episode seriously:
- Youre too out of breath to finish a sentence, eat, or walk
- Your inhaler isnt helping
- The wheezing and tightness in your chest is getting worse
- Your breathing is speeding up and its difficult to control
- Your lips are beginning to turn blue
Sometimes a bit of breathlessness can make you very anxious, which will make your breathing worse and likely frighten you a fair bit. The most important thing to do is stay calm the more anxious you get, the worse it will be for your airways.
Some slow, controlled breathing and a bit of comforting visualization can bring your respiration back to a reasonable range and distract your mind from negative thoughts. Rest assured that there are plenty of people who are able to help you get through the attack, and the ambulance is only a call away, if it should come to that.
After An Asthma Attack: Changing Your Asthma Management Or Asthma Attack Treatment
After an asthma attack evaluation, your doctor may want to step up treatment, step down treatment, change treatment, or increase your doctor visits, said Bernstein.
Some signs that your treatment plan may need to change include:
- Frequent asthma attacks
- Needing to take more asthma medication than prescribed
- Waking up at night with asthma symptoms
- Daytime activity limited by asthma
- Continued cough, congestion, and mucous production
- Poor peak flow rates
Knowing what to do after an asthma attack is part of learning how to manage your asthma. Each asthma attack is a chance to learn more about your asthma triggers and your asthma medications. Sharing this information with your doctor gives you and your doctor the opportunity to make the right adjustments to your asthma action plan â and that could mean fewer asthma attacks in your future.
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Blue Lips Or Fingernails
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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How Is Asthma Treated
Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you and stay away from things that can trigger an attack to control your asthma.
Everyone with asthma does not take the same medicine.
You can breathe in some medicines and take other medicines as a pill. Asthma medicines come in two typesquick-relief and long-term control. Quick-relief medicines control the symptoms of an asthma attack. If you need to use your quick-relief medicines more and more, visit your doctor to see if you need a different medicine. Long-term control medicines help you have fewer and milder attacks, but they dont help you while you are having an asthma attack.
Asthma medicines can have side effects, but most side effects are mild and soon go away. Ask your doctor about the side effects of your medicines.
Remember you can control your asthma. With your doctors help, make your own asthma action plan. Decide who should have a copy of your plan and where he or she should keep it. Take your long-term control medicine even when you dont have symptoms.
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How Do You Completely Cure Asthma
Long-term control medications such as inhaled corticosteroids are the most important medications used to keep asthma under control. These preventive medications treat the airway inflammation that leads to asthma symptoms. Used on a daily basis, these medications can reduce or eliminate asthma flare-ups.
What Happens During An Asthma Attack
Reviewed byDr Hayley Willacy
Asthma is a common condition that affects the smaller airways . From time to time the airways narrow in people who have asthma. The typical symptoms are wheeze, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. The extent of the narrowing, and how long each episode lasts, can vary greatly.
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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.
You Think Your Asthma Is Under Control
Most of the asthmatic patients do not realize that their condition has worsened unless they are admitted to the emergency ward. They think that they are alright as long as they are regularly using their rescue medication when needed. In reality, even if the asthma is silent, i.e. without any coughing or wheezing, or breathing difficulty, there can be the presence of lung inflammation. Asthma patients get used to the breathing difficulty and stop focusing on it over a period.
If you have persistent asthma, but you treat it only during the attacks, then you are not controlling it properly. Taking controller medication is important to reduce the inflammation and mucus production, thereby healing the lungs which is highly important so that you wont suffer from untreated asthma. Controller medication opens up the airways making it easy for you to breath. Just 60 seconds of inhalation with asthma pump can provide you relief for several hours or even days.
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Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Dont have written asthma action plan from your doctor
- Use an inhaler, but dont 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
Whats An Asthma Attack
When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes the airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
- Inflammation: The airway linings become swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of the lungs.
- Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.
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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.
What Is An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack occurs when the muscles surrounding the airways tighten and your airways become too narrow for you to breathe effectively.
An attack can happen suddenly if your asthma is not under control and you are exposed to one of your;triggers. Or it can build up slowly, over hours, days or even weeks.
It is important to learn to recognize the symptoms of worsening asthma and know what to do if you have an asthma attack.
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Will It Ever Go Away
Asthma has a variable course. Many children with asthma see it improve or appear to go away as they get older. This can happen any time in childhood or adolescence. If asthma was only intermittent in nature and triggered by viral respiratory infections , there is an excellent likelihood that asthma will be much less of a problem as the child gets older. Sometimes the nature of the asthma changes with age. A young child may have asthma initially only from viral infections. As the child ages, asthma may occur less from viral infections , but inhalant allergy may become an important contributor to the asthma. If asthma persists into adult life, or returns later in adult life after a period of remission, persisting asthmatic symptoms may not be readily explainable by any environmental factors.
Whatever the course, however, asthma is virtually always controllable with acceptably safe measures. While ongoing medical evaluation of asthma should assess whether the disease is still active and continues to need treatment, it is not wise to withhold treatment in the hope that asthma will go away by itself. That may indeed occur, but it may not, and there can be considerable avoidable suffering and disability in the interim.
What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack
If you think you’re having an asthma attack, you should:
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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Test And Trace Service
If you havent already and your smartphone supports it, you should download the free NHS COVID-19 app. This app is a vital part of the NHS Test and Trace services in England and Wales.
If you test positive for COVID-19, youll be contacted by a test and trace service. Youll be asked where youve been recently and who youve been in close contact with.
Close contact includes people in your household, people with whom you have had direct contact, or people you have been within two metres for more than 15 minutes.
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