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What Is An Asthma Flare

What Precautions Should People With Asthma Take

Recognizing Signs of an Asthma Flare Up

Make sure your asthma is under control before winter arrives. See your doctor to develop an asthma action plan and then take the medicines your doctor prescribes. You may take medicine every day or just when you need it .

Long-term controller medicines are drugs you take every day to manage your asthma symptoms. They include:

Note: Long-acting beta-agonists are always used alongside inhaled corticosteroids.

Quick-relief medicines are drugs that you only take when you need them, such as before exercising in the cold. Short-acting bronchodilators and anticholinergics are examples of these drugs.

What Are Common Asthma Attack Triggers

An asthma attack happens when someone comes in contact with substances that irritate them. Healthcare providers call these substances triggers. Knowing what triggers your asthma makes it easier to avoid asthma attacks.

For some people, a trigger can bring on an attack right away. Sometimes, an attack may start hours or days later.

Triggers can be different for each person. But some common triggers include:

  • Air pollution: Many things outside can cause an asthma attack. Air pollution includes factory emissions, car exhaust, wildfire smoke and more.
  • Dust mites: You cant see these bugs, but they are in many homes. If you have a dust mite allergy, they can cause an asthma attack.
  • Exercise: For some people, exercising can cause an attack.
  • Mold: Damp places can spawn mold. It can cause problems for people with asthma. You dont even have to be allergic to mold to have an attack.
  • Pests: Cockroaches, mice and other household pests can cause asthma attacks.
  • Pets: Your pets can cause asthma attacks. If youre allergic to pet dander , breathing in the dander can irritate your airways.
  • Tobacco smoke: If you or someone in your home smokes, you have a higher risk of developing asthma. The best solution is to quit smoking.
  • Strong chemicals or smells.

With asthma, you may not have all of these symptoms. You may have different signs at different times. And symptoms can change between asthma attacks.

What Does A Virus Do To The Cell

It essentially turns it into a virus making a factory. The Rhinovirus is the most common virus to cause asthma . So, to keep it simple, well just focus on the Rhinovirus. Once it binds to a respiratory epithelial cell, it forces the cell to take it in. Once inside, the capsid separates itself from the genome . This RNA strand enters the cells nucleus and integrates itself to the cells DNA. The cell then replicates the viral RNA over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.4,6

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How Do You Monitor Asthma Symptoms

Monitoring your asthma symptoms is an essential piece of managing the disease. Your healthcare provider may have you use a peak flow meter. This device measures how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It can help your provider make adjustments to your medication. It also tells you if your symptoms are getting worse.

How To Stop An Asthma Attack

What happens During Asthma Attack &  What Causes It?

Stopping an asthma attack is easier if you know what to do once one starts. In some cases, it may not be possible to stop an asthma attack entirely without an inhaler. However, there are certain steps you can take to lessen the duration and intensity of an asthma attack. These include:

  • Use your inhaler
  • Stay calm

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What Can I Do To Reduce Asthma Symptoms

  • Learn your childs triggers.
  • Allergens like dust mites, pets, pests, molds and pollen can play a role in some childrens asthma. Discuss with your health care provider whether an evaluation by an allergist may be helpful.
  • Follow your asthma management plan and give the medicines prescribed by your childs doctor.

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How Do You Calm An Asthma Flare

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

Belly breathing

  • Breathing in through the nose with the hands placed on the belly, and out through the nose.

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How Long Does An Asthma Flare

The duration of an asthma attack depends on various factors, like the cause of the reaction, the type of asthma, and how long the airways have been inflamed. Some mild asthma attacks can last only a few minutes and will resolve without medication. More severe attacks can last for hours or even days, and will likely need to be treated with medication administered by a doctor.

Common Asthma Attack Triggers

What is Asthma? (HealthSketch)

An asthma trigger is an irritant that causes the airways to become inflamed and constrict. Constriction of airways marks the start of an asthma attack and can cause other symptoms like wheezing.

There isnt one single trigger of asthma. What triggers an asthma attack for one person might not be the same for another. Youll know what causes an asthma attack for you if youre exposed to an irritant and have shortness of breath or start wheezing. The most common triggers are:

  • Allergies
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    What Happens During A Flare

    Children with asthma have severe episodes or flare-ups when the air passages in their lungs become narrower. This makes it harder to breathe. Sensitive airways react to certain things called triggers. Triggers can cause:

    • The lining of the airways to become more inflamed and swollen

    • Tightening of the muscles that surround the airways

    • More mucus production

    • Less air movement through the lungs

    Your child may have the following symptoms of a flare-up:

    • It may become harder to breathe. Your child may start breathing faster than normal. They may use muscles that they normally don’t use to breathe. This will make it look like the area under or between the ribs is sucking in or the belly is sticking out.

    • Chest tightness

    • Wheezing or whistling when breathing out. Wheezing may not happen with very severe flare-ups.

    • Symptoms that wake your child or keep them from sleeping

    • Trouble walking or talking

    Make sure you know what to do if your child’s symptoms get worse. Always have his or her asthma medicines and asthma action plan available to use in case of a flare-up. If your child does not get treatment right away during a flare-up, they could stop breathing, or even die.

    Side Effects Of Steroid Tablets

    Oral steroids carry a risk if they are taken for more than three months or if they are taken frequently . Side effects can include:

    • easy bruising
    • muscle weakness

    With the exception of increased appetite, which is very commonly experienced by people taking oral steroids, most of these unwanted effects are uncommon.

    However, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for them regularly, especially side effects that are not immediately obvious, such as high blood pressure, thinning of the bones, diabetes and glaucoma.

    You will need regular appointments to check for these.

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    Contact Doctor During Office Hours

    • 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

    These Are The Most Common Asthma Triggers

    Asthma and Reactive Airway Disease (RAD) (Wheezing ...

    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
    • Stress

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    What Causes Asthma

    Asthma is caused by swelling and narrowing of the bronchial tubes in the lungs when the body overreacts to something foreign. The muscles in the airways contract which increases the narrowing even more. These factors make it difficult for the person to breath. It is unknown why exactly this happens, but doctors have determined that certain things can trigger this bodily reaction.

    Who Can Get Asthma

    Anyone can develop asthma at any age. People with allergies or people exposed to tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma.

    Statistics show women tend to have asthma more than men, and asthma affects Black Americans more frequently than other races.

    When a child develops asthma, healthcare providers call it childhood asthma. If it develops later in life, its adult-onset asthma.

    Children do not outgrow asthma. They may have fewer symptoms as they get older, but they could still have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.

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    Early Warning Signs Include:

    In some cases, more severe signs or symptoms may appear in your child including:

    • Trouble breathing even when sitting still
    • Difficulty speaking without pausing
    • Feeling tired or drowsy
    • Blueness around the lips
    • The areas below the ribs, between the ribs, and in the neck sink in with each attempt to inhale

    Personal Asthma Action Plan

    All about asthma attack, asthma flareup and prevention

    As part of your initial assessment, you should be encouraged to draw up a personal asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse.

    If youâve been admitted to hospital because of an asthma attack, you should be offered an action plan before you go home.

    The action plan should include information about your asthma medicines, and will help you recognise when your symptoms are getting worse and what steps to take. You should also be given information about what to do if you have an asthma attack.

    Your personal asthma action plan should be reviewed with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year, or more frequently if your symptoms are severe.

    As part of your asthma plan, you may be given a peak flow meter. This will give you another way of monitoring your asthma, rather than relying only on symptoms, so you can recognise deterioration earlier and take appropriate steps.

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    Causes Of Asthma Flare

    People with asthma have airways that are overly sensitive to certain things that normally dont bother those without asthma, and exposure to triggers can bring on asthma symptoms.

    Common triggers include:

    • mold
    • cockroaches

    Many people with asthma also have allergies. In them, allergens the things that cause the allergic symptoms also can cause asthma flare-ups.

    Left untreated, a flare-up can last for several hours or even several days. Quick-relief medicines often take care of the symptoms pretty quickly. A person should feel better once the flare-up ends, although it can take several days to completely go away.

    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 healthcare provider may order a chest X-ray, blood test or skin test. Your provider may order spirometry. This test measures airflow through your lungs.

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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.

    How Is Asthma Diagnosed

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    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 or tests, if you have a history of allergies. These tests check which allergens cause a reaction from your immune system.

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    Youre Coughing And Wheezing More During The Day

    Another sign that your severe asthma may be getting worse is if youre coughing or wheezing more often. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your treatment plan if you constantly feel like youre about to cough. If you find yourself wheezing with a whistle-like sound more than once a day, seek your doctors opinion as well.

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    The Dangers Of Asthma

    Even prior to the pandemic, asthma attacks could be fatal in the United States.

    What people dont realize is that we have 10 deaths per day from asthma, even pre-pandemic, said Dr. Purvi Parikh, an immunologist and vaccine researcher at NYU Langone.

    People dont realize the severity of the toll of asthma. It puts you at a higher risk of COVID-19 when you have uncontrolled asthma because you are more likely to catch respiratory viruses and they will be more severe.

    Dr. Gina T. Coscia, an allergist-immunologist at Northwell Health, said that having poorly controlled asthma means having airway inflammation that isnt well controlled with medication.

    This inflammation can lead to symptoms of cough, wheeze, breathlessness, and functional impairment, as well as outcomes such as hospitalization or the need for multiple courses of oral corticosteroids, said Coscia.

    Poorly controlled asthma is much more common than one might think. Many people are poorly controlled and dont realize it, added Parikh. You need two flare-ups in a whole year. Even two courses of steroids or unexpected ER or doctor visits that are unplanned are considered uncontrolled.

    For the purpose of this study, poorly controlled asthma was defined as hospitalization for asthma or being prescribed at least two courses of oral steroids in the previous 2 years.

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    What Causes An Asthma Flare

    Things that can cause you to have an asthma flare-up are called triggers. Different kids have different triggers. Common triggers include:

    • breathing in things that cause allergies , such as dust, pollen, dander from animals, and mold
    • breathing in things that irritate your airways, like cigarette smoke, perfume, and chalk dust
    • infections, like a cold or the flu
    • breathing in cold air

    Whats An Asthma Flare

    How does asthma work? – Christopher E. Gaw

    Kids with asthma might have days with no breathing problems at all. Thats a relief for parents and for kids because it means that the asthma is under control.

    But when asthma symptoms like wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath become more severe, more frequent, or both, its known as an asthma flare-up .

    If the flare-up is severe, a person might:

    • struggle to breathe or have rapid breathing even when sitting still
    • be unable to speak more than a few words at a time without pausing
    • have retractions in the neck and chest

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    How Do You Know If You Are Having An Asthma Attack

    An asthma attack happens when the body is exposed to a triggerlike pollen or smokethat causes the airways to become inflamed and swollen.

    Asthma attacks are uncomfortable to experience and can be frightening, especially for children. If you or someone you know is having any of the following symptoms, they may be having an asthma attack:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Chest tightness or pain
    • Coughing or wheezing

    An asthma attack may go away after a few minutes with proper treatment, but symptoms can last longer and become life-threatening if untreated. Seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know is having a severe asthma attack with one or more of the following symptoms:

    • A feeling of panic about the asthma attack
    • Pale and sweaty face
    • Lips or fingernails that are turning blue
    • No improvement in symptoms after using an inhaler


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