Experiencing an asthma attack can be scary, but if you know how to handle an asthma attack, you can learn to make it more manageable. However, if you are experiencing a severe asthma attack, you may need to seek medical attention immediately.
Avoiding an attack
With your doctor, you can figure out a plan to try and avoid asthma attacks. Ways to do this include avoiding asthma triggers, consistently taking medications to prevent symptoms, and developing a plan to identify when you may need to seek help.
Signs of an attack
Symptoms can happen at any time and symptoms can last only a few minutes or can last much longer if they are severe. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of Breath
- Rapid Breathing
- Chest Tightness
If symptoms are more severe, this can lead to a medical emergency. It’s important to know when an attack becomes severe and when to seek medical attention. Some of these symptoms include:
- Fast breathing with chest retractions
- Very pale or blue coloring on the face, lips, or fingernails
- Rapidly moving nostrils
- The ribs or stomach move in and out deeply and also rapidly
- An expanded chest that doesn’t deflate when you exhale
If you’re experiencing any of these severe symptoms occur, make sure to seek attention immediately to avoid an extreme medical emergency.
What Happens During an Attack?
When breathing is normal, the airways are fully open for the lungs and this allows air to move in and out of the lungs freely. Asthma causes the airways to change by:
- The airways leading to the lungs become overly reactive and sensitive to triggers
- The linings of the airways swell and become inflamed
- Mucus clogs the airways
- Muscles tighten around the airways
- The lungs have issues moving air in and out
Treating and Preventing Asthma Attacks
There is no cure for asthma, but controlling your symptoms by taking your medications and avoiding asthma triggers helps with preventing attacks. You can reduce your symptoms and enjoy a great quality of life.