Let’s be honest, having asthma can be scary. When you are having trouble breathing, your entire body goes on high alert. And while it may be nerve wracking, remaining calm and having a plan is critical to getting the relief you need.
Asthma attacks are often accompanied by wheezing, a feeling of tightness in the chest, coughing spells, or an inability to move air in or out of the lungs. Severe cases may cause cyanosis – a slight blue or green color of the lips, fingers or skin that signals that the body is in need of oxygen. Below are some helpful things to remember during an asthma attack.
What to Do During an Asthma Attack
If you think that you are having or are on the verge of having an asthma attack, the first thing to remember is to remain as calm as possible. If you know the source of your trigger, then have someone remove it or get away from it if you can. If, for instance, you are highly allergic to cats, and a cat is in the room, try to step outside to get away from the fur and pet dander that is likely to be present.
At this point, you should also assess the situation and determine if you need to use other medications, or seek emergency care. If you have asthma, or care for someone who has asthma, you should always have an emergency plan to help during an attack. The plan will probably include certain medications, such as a rescue inhaler, prescription medications such as bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory agents, or breathing treatments.
Try to breathe slowly, take slow and steady breaths, and be sure to sit (not lay) down. Sitting and leaning forward slightly can help make breathing easier. Laying down, on the other hand, can make it harder to breathe. If you have an inhaler, common prescribing recommendations are to take one puff and hold it as long as you can. Immediate relief (rescue) inhalers are often blue in color for easy identification.) You can use your rescue inhaler every 30-60 seconds, up to ten puffs. However, since every patient is different, it is important to follow the instructions given to you by your physician even if it differs from what you see here.
Once you have used the inhaler and any medications your doctor has directed, reevaluate the severity of the attack and then go from there. This may include a call to your doctor’s office, using prescribed medications, or seeking immediate emergency treatment, depending on the severity of the attack, or other factors such as distance from the nearest emergency medical care.
The main things to remember are:
- Stay calm
- Remove the trigger
- Use a rescue inhaler or other medications, as directed
- Contact your doctor or seek immediate medical attention as required
Asthma is a treatable condition, but you should always be prepared and aware. Try to avoid activities that you know will trigger an attack when possible, and always carry any emergency medications your doctor prescribes.
If you, or a loved one suffers from asthma, or you would like more information, or to schedule an appointment with our highly qualified allergy and asthma specialist, Matthew Aresery, MD please call Intercoastal Medical Group at (941) 362-8641 for an appointment today or request one online.