What Is an Asthma Attack and How Do I Deal With It?


More than 25 million people in the United States have asthma. This is a chronic condition that affects the airways in your nose, mouth, and lungs, which can make it difficult to breathe properly at times.

Thankfully, although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to manage it using medication. However, certain environments and activities can trigger an asthma attack. Every year more than 11 million American asthmatics suffer from at least one serious asthma attack.

Knowing how to identify an asthma attack and what to do next is extremely important if you’re going to get it under control. Want to know more about spotting an asthma attack and how to handle one? Then you’re in the right place!

Read on to find out more.

What Is an Asthma Attack?

Having asthma means that the airways that carry oxygen into your body become inflamed easily and when this happens, they narrow. This makes it more difficult for air to get into your body.

Thankfully, medication and inhalers are available for helping your asthma. However, sometimes you may experience short periods when your asthma becomes more severe. This is known as an asthma attack.

Symptoms of an asthma attack include:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Feeling tight chested
  • Breathlessness that makes it difficult to eat, sleep, or speak
  • Increased breathing rate or heartbeat
  • Blue lips or fingers
  • Drowsiness, exhaustion, or confusion
  • Dizziness or fainting

If you or anyone around you starts experiencing these it is important to act quickly to get them under control.

What Triggers an Asthma Attack?

As an individual, you may be more susceptible to asthma attacks depending on how severe your asthma is. However, there are some common triggers that increase the chances of you suffering from an attack. These include exposure to:

  • Allergens, such as pollen, animal fur, or dust mites
  • Smoke, pollution, or other fumes
  • Infections, especially chest infections
  • Some anti-inflammatory medications
  • Stress
  • Changes in the weather, particularly a drop in temperature
  • Mold or damp
  • Exercise

Knowing your triggers can help you to avoid an attack.

How to Manage an Asthma Attack

An asthma attack can escalate quickly, which means that it is important to act fast to get in under control. If you have one, try to remain calm as this will help you control your breathing.

You should upright and try taking slow, steady breaths. If you have it with you, take a single puff of your reliever inhaler. You can do this every 30 seconds for up to 10 puffs.

If you do not have a reliever inhaler on you, you should call 911 or visit the ER immediately. You should also do this if taking 10 puffs of your inhaler hasn’t helped your attack. If you are worried at any point during an asthma attack, get in touch with medical support straight away.

If you find that you are experiencing more asthma attacks than normal, you should discuss this with your doctor. They may want to change your medication dosage.

Keep Your Asthma Under Control

An asthma attack can be a very scary experience for you and the people around you. Acting quickly is extremely important.

You can also reduce your likelihood of suffering from an asthma attack by managing your asthma and looking after your health in general. For more top tips on staying healthy this year, keep scrolling!

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