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.
What To Do If You Are With Someone Having An Asthma Attack
It can be very frightening to watch ;someone having an asthma attack.; They may be wheezing, or struggling for breath and panicking that they cannot get enough air. In severe attacks, their lips and ear lobes may go blue.;People ;describe an asthma attack ;as if they were breathing through a straw, or even in some cases as if suffocating, choking or drowning. They described struggling or fighting for air. One young man said it felt as though hed lost half his lungs, as though the air is only going down half way and hes only getting half the air that he needs.
If you are with someone who is having an attack, especially children, ; you need to stay calm, hard as it might be, because panic makes the breathing even harder.; You need to reassure them that everything will be fine and then try to find their inhaler if they have one, and help them sit upright in a comfortable position.
Asthma is a condition that is caused by an allergic reaction in the lungs, this is often a substance such as dust, traffic fumes or animal hair.;; The muscles that surround the wind pipes in the lungs go into spasm and constrict which makes breathing difficult.
For more information about Asthma go to:
Safe and Sound cover Asthma in its first aid courses. For more information go to: www.safeandsound.uk.net
Home Remedies For Asthma Attacks
While some asthma attacks are mild, lasting just a few minutes, others are severe and may need immediate medical treatment. Many milder attacks can be handled at home. Heres what to try.
Avoid your triggers. If you know what your triggers are, try to stay away from them so you can avoid asthma attacks altogether. Sometimes, this isnt possiblebut if you find yourself having an asthma attack and you know why, do what you can to get away from the culprit.
If you walked into someones house with a cat, then get outside,” says Dr. Rathkopf. “If youre outside and its cold, then get inside or cover up your mouth with a scarf.
Follow your action plan. Every patient should leave their doctors office with an asthma action plan, says Dr. Li. These individualized plans will guide you through the best next steps during an asthma attack.
Preparation is key, says Dr. Li. Attacks happen.
That goes for everyoneeven if youve never had an asthma attack. Patients have felt like they cant really have asthma because theyve never had an attack, says Dr. Rathkopf. Thats fortunate for them, but it doesnt mean they couldnt have one.
The first step after getting away from your triggeror if you cant avoid your trigger or dont know what it isis usually medication.
Take anywhere from two to four puffs, advises Dr. Li.
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Avoid A Contact With Allergen
The most common cause of asthma are allergies, so the most effective method of preventing another attack, in this case, will be to avoid contact with a specific allergen.
Allergic To House Dust Mites
In case of allergy to house dust mites, it is good to use acaricides, agents that cause agglomeration of allergenic mite excrements, and their remains.
You can use covers for bedding that do not let mite excrement pass.
Also, keep the right temperature and humidity in your bedroom.
Besides, it is worth washing the pillow and quilt every 2-3 weeks at 60 degrees; this will significantly reduce your asthma symptoms.
It is a very common allergy that causes acute asthma attacks. If this is your problem read the pollen calendar not to be surprised by the appearance of symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, tearing, and after that, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
During the pollen season, you should ventilate your home in the morning or late afternoon.
Outside of closed rooms, you must use protective glasses, avoid places with the highest pollen concentration, i.e., near dusty trees, meadows, or pastures.
When you get home, it is best to wash anything that has been exposed to pollen nose, face, ears, exposed parts of the body to wash off this allergen.
Immunotherapy is a good idea. Desensitization can significantly alter your responses to pollen. This is a very good method that is safe and highly effective in an allergists hands.
What Are The Triggers
There are many different triggers for asthma attacks. Many asthmatics are well aware of their trigger points. However, they may not always be able to avoid them.
Pollen and pollution are increasingly responsible for triggering asthma. Many people find a worsening of their symptoms in Spring, combined with the onset of hay fever. There are many species of grasses, trees and weeds in the UK. Some people are particularly sensitive to some and do not react at all to others. There is also huge variation around the country as to when pollen is released. People can begin to suffer from hay fever as early as January. About 20% of people with hay fever are allergic to birch tree pollen and this, as well as oak and plane trees, are responsible for many unpleasant symptoms and can exacerbate asthma.
Grass pollens are the most common cause of hay fever and usually affect people in May, June and July.
Weed pollens usually release pollen from early spring to early autumn.
If you know pollen is a trigger for your asthma, speak to your GP or asthma nurse.
The Met Office issues really useful pollen advice.
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Often people find it particularly difficult to breathe out and have an increase in sticky mucus and phlegm
Its important to note that not everyone will get all of these symptoms.
When To See A Medical Professional
See your provider or go to the emergency room if:
- An asthma attack requires more medicine than recommended
- Symptoms get worse or do not improve with treatment
- You have shortness of breath while talking
- Your peak flow measurement is 50% to 80% of your personal best
Go to the emergency room if these symptoms occur:
- Drowsiness or confusion
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How To Tell You Have Asthma
Asthma is a complex disease to diagnose, and only a healthcare professional is able to make a proper diagnosis.
If you are concerned that you may have asthma, contact your healthcare provider. In order to confirm an asthma diagnosis, your healthcare provider will take into account your medical and family history, allergies, and conduct lung function testing such as spirometry.
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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.
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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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.
What Is An Asthma Action Plan
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 To Avoid Asthma Triggers
If you know what your asthma triggers are, then where possible, its beneficial to try to avoid them.
If theres a particular allergen culprit you know of, then keeping your home clean and dust-free can help. For example, you could consider swapping carpets for wooden floors to reduce the amount of dust build-up or hiring a cleaner so youre not personally exposed to dust when cleaning.
It can be more difficult to avoid asthma triggers completely when youre at work, especially if your asthma is occupational and linked to your working environment. In an ideal world, you could simply change jobs to something more suitable for your health, but in reality this isnt always feasible.
Let your employer or the HR department know about your asthma. You should be able to discuss the options available for optimising your work environment to be more suitable to your needs.
Keeping on top of your asthma management plan, working alongside your doctor or asthma nurse and making sure you take your inhalers or other asthma medications should help to control your symptoms. Making practical lifestyle choices is important too, like eating healthily, exercising and not smoking.
It can also be beneficial to learn an asthma breathing technique. There are various breathing techniques that can help asthma and knowing how to breathe properly could help if something unexpectedly triggers an attack.
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What Are The Symptoms
You may have any of the following:
Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, or fast breathing
Trouble doing normal activities, such as exercising, playing sports, or doing chores that involve lifting
Fingers or lips turning blue or gray
A peak flow rate less than 80 percent of your personal best
Tightness in your chest
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How Asthma Is Treated
While there is no cure for asthma, there are a number of treatments that can help control the condition.
Treatment is based on two important goals, which are:
- relieving symptoms;
- preventing future symptoms and attacks
For most people, this will involve the occasional or, more commonly, daily use of medications, usually taken using an inhaler. However, identifying and avoiding possible triggers is also important.
You should have a personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse that includes information about the medicines you need to take, how to recognise when your symptoms are getting worse, and what steps to take when they do so.
These symptoms are often worse at night and early in the morning, particularly if the condition is not well controlled. They may also develop or become worse in response to a certain trigger, such as exercise or exposure to an allergen.
Read our page on the;causes of asthma for more information about potential triggers.
Speak to your GP if you think you or your child may have asthma. You should also talk to your doctor or asthma nurse if you have been diagnosed with asthma and you are finding it difficult to control the symptoms.
Advice For Friends And Family
It’s important that your friends and family know how to help in an emergency.
It can be useful to make copies of your personal asthma action plan and share it with others who may need to know what to do when you have an attack.
You can photocopy your existing plan, or you could download a blank personal asthma action plan from Asthma UK and fill it in for anyone who might need a copy.
Or you could take a photo of your action plan on your phone, so you can show or send it to others easily.
Page last reviewed: 19 April 2021 Next review due: 19 April 2024
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Move Away From Triggers
The presence of asthma triggers wont only cause an attack, they can also make your symptoms worse. Be sure to try to get away from things that may be triggering your asthma attack.
For example, if youre in an area where people are smoking cigarettes, you should move away promptly.
Its also important to know your triggers. Common triggers include:
- allergens, such as pet dander, pollen, or certain foods
You should always be sure to seek immediate emergency medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms during an asthma attack:
- your symptoms continue to get worse even after treatment
- you cant speak except in short words or phrases
- youre straining your chest muscles in an effort to breathe
- your shortness of breath or wheezing is severe, particularly in the early morning or late-night hours
- you begin to feel drowsy or tired
- your lips or face appear blue when youre not coughing
Symptoms that indicate that you could be experiencing an asthma attack include:
- severe shortness of breath
Asthma Attack Causes And Symptoms
Asthma affects about 235m people worldwide, including both adults and children. The symptoms of asthma can be well controlled by regular medications and lifestyle choices, but sometimes an Asthma Attack occurs where the symptoms suddenly get worse.
Read on to discover the facts about asthma attacks, what causes them, the symptoms to look out for and common asthma attack triggers.
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What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack And Dont Have Your Rescue Inhaler
As a person with asthma, I do my best to ensure I have my rescue inhaler with me at all times because having an asthma attack and no inhaler can be problematic. In fact, I have a rescue inhaler stashed in several places in my car, in my purse, at my house. This way if I have an asthma attack, my inhaler is generally within reach. Theoretically.
However, we all know that things happen. Life happens. When I was working as a floor nurse, a cleaning product being used by the housekeeper sent me into an asthma attack.
My inhaler was in my purse, which was in my locker. You would think that working on a nursing unit, Id have an albuterol inhaler readily available, but that was not the case.
It was a very busy night and I thought to myself, Ill answer one more call right before grabbing my inhaler., Ill give one more medication.
Before I knew it, my wheezing was so severe that my manager could hear me from her office and she wheeled me to the ER. I spent the remainder of my shift there before the physician sent me home, prednisone prescription in hand.
I learned my lesson that night I need a back-up plan for when my inhaler is not readily available.
Personal Asthma Action Plan
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 youve 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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Asthma What It Is And How To Help If Someone Is Having An Asthma Attack
We all know people who have asthma. However, very few of us would know what to do if someone close by started to have a serious asthma attack and was struggling to breathe. Read on to find out what asthma is, what may trigger it and how to help someone having an asthma attack.
Table 1 Inflammatory Cells Involved In Asthma
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Expert panel report 3 : Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma Full Report 2007; pg 16-18; Kraft M. N Engl J Med. 2011;365:1141-1144; Berger A. BMJ. 1999;319:90.
Medications that block interleukins are under investigation right now.10,11 These medications may be helpful for people with moderate to severe asthma and high eosinophil levels.
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