Imagine running through a field of wildflowers, but experiencing a sudden sensation of gasping for air. It’s almost like trying to breathe through a narrow straw. This sensation is called an asthma attack, which occurs when the airway narrows down, resulting in wheezing and shortness of breath.
If an asthma attack is left unmanaged, it can lead to death. Luckily, the proper treatment protocol can save your life. If you ever get into this situation, continue reading to learn what to do during an asthma attack.
Ten people die from an asthma attack each day, and you don’t want to be one of them. Call 911 if you develop any of the following asthma attack symptoms:
- Your symptoms continue to worsen after therapy
- Unable to communicate except in a few words or sentences
- Tensing the muscles in your chest to breathe
- Severe shortness of breath or wheezing
- Lips or cheeks turn blue
It can take an ambulance about 8 minutes and 59 seconds to arrive. During this time, you should remain calm since anxiety can constrict your airway even more.
Maintain a Straight Posture
An upright posture helps keep your airways open. Avoid reclining down during an asthma attack; this might worsen the symptoms.
Maintain a Steady Breathing Pattern
During an attack, attempt to stay calm with steady breaths. Some breathing exercises can alleviate the symptoms. Here are some techniques to try:
- Buteyko breathing method entails inhaling through the nose
- Papworth technique is breathing with your diaphragm and nose
- diaphragmatic respiration emphasizes breathing from the diaphragm
- Pranayama breathing regulates the length and timing of each breath
A research experiment evaluated 2,880 people with mild to severe asthma. The results show that breathing exercises reduce hyperventilating symptoms.
The presence of asthma triggers does not always result in an attack. However, they can aggravate your symptoms. Make an effort to avoid situations that might provoke an asthma attack. Common asthma triggers are:
- Pet dander
- Certain food
- Cigarette smoke
- Tension or anxiety
- Certain medications
- Inhaling cold, dry air
You can create an asthma diary. This is where you write down anything that worsens or triggers your symptoms.
Different Types of Asthma Treatment
The most effective strategy to avoid an asthma attack is to keep your asthma under control. If your asthma medication runs out, quickly go to QucikRxRefill to refill.
Make sure to collaborate with your doctor to create the proper action plan. Your family and close friends should have a copy of your asthma action plan in case of an attack. An asthma action plan should contain the following:
These anti-inflammatory medications help minimize airway edema and constriction. You may need to take these drugs for several months before seeing their full effect. However, long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids in children may cause developmental delay.
Inhaled corticosteroids can lead to oral yeast infections. If you use a metered dosage inhaler, use a spacer and rinse your mouth with water. This will help minimize medication residue in your mouth.
These drugs work by inhibiting leukotriene action. These are immune system molecules that contribute to asthma symptoms. Leukotrienes modifier can prevent asthma symptoms for up to 24 hours.
Long-Acting Beta Agonist
These bronchodilators can keep the airway open for at least 12 hours. They are taken consistently to help manage moderate to severe asthma and avoid overnight symptoms.
They are often used in conjunction with an inhaled corticosteroid. Salmeterol is the most common medication prescribed to patients.
To treat moderate asthma, take this bronchodilator daily in tablet form. Theophylline relaxes the airways and reduces the lung’s reactivity to irritants. It’s beneficial for asthma symptoms that occur at night.
You may need periodic blood tests to ensure you receive the proper dosage. Insomnia and gastric reflux are two possible adverse effects of theophylline.
Anyone using an inhaler is most likely familiar with albuterol. This drug works by relaxing the muscles of the airways. It’s often called a rescue inhaler that can halt an asthma attack for up to six hours.
Ipratropium is a short-acting bronchodilator often used to treat emphysema or chronic bronchitis. It’s also used to treat asthma episodes. It can be used in conjunction with or in place of short-acting beta-agonists.
These drugs help manage the symptoms of severe asthma attacks. However, long-term use can cause side effects like weakened immune systems and bone pain.
How to Diagnose Asthma?
The Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) is performed on adults and children over five years old. This test determines how well the lungs are operating. The test includes:
Your doctor may take a peak flow measurement when you come in for a regular appointment or emergency treatment during an asthma attack. This test examines how rapidly you can breathe. You may also use a peak flow meter at home to check your lung function.
The findings of this test are known as peak expiratory flow (PEF). This test is done by blowing into a mouthpiece as forcefully and as quickly as you can with a single breath.
During spirometry, you take deep breathes and aggressively exhale into a hose linked to a machine called a spirometer. A spirometry measurement is called forced expiratory volume (FEV). This measures how much air you can breathe out in one second.
Nitric Oxide Measurement
This examination determines the quantity of nitric oxide gas during exhalation. Increased nitric oxide levels suggest bronchial tube irritation.
This test determines the oxygen saturation level of your blood. It’s a fast test that gets measured through your fingernail.
Learn More About What to Do During an Asthma Attack
It can be frightening to experience an asthma attack without a rescue inhaler. There are a couple of strategies to help, such as sitting straight, staying calm, and regaining control of your breathing. Asthma attacks are quite dangerous and require immediate medical assistance.
If you are suffering severe signs of asthma attacks, such as severe shortness of breath, severe wheezing, or trouble speaking, contact 911 immediately. If you want to learn more about asthma treatment, preventions, and types of inhalers, talk to your doctor today. You can even check out our other posts to learn more about what to do during an asthma attack.