An asthma attack can last from a few minutes to several days and means that your asthma symptoms suddenly worsen. During the asthma attack, the muscles in the trachea contract and the mucous membranes swell up, while more mucus is formed. Check out the symptoms and causes of asthma attack.
You often get shortness of breath, loud beeping sounds when inhaling and exhaling, and coughing with tough mucus. Other signs that you have had an asthma attack may be:
- Very fast breathing
- Pressure or pain over the chest
- Tight neck or chest muscles
- Hard to talk
- Deep anxiety
- Pale and sweaty face
- Blue lips or nails
- The symptoms worsen even though you have taken your medicine
How should I deal with asthma attacks?
If you take your asthma preventative medicine and follow your doctor’s recommendations, chances are good that you will never have to experience an acute asthma attack.
But if you – or someone close to you – should still be affected, it is important to stay as calm as possible and not panic. In the first place, use your fast-acting bronchodilator medicine and do not pull yourself together to ask others for help.
If you are thirsty, loosen tight clothing and drink water. If shortness of breath does not subside after a while, it is best to seek medical attention at a health center or emergency room. If your asthma attack is acute, call 112.
Is it possible to prevent asthma attacks?
Severe asthma attacks are rare, but they can increase rapidly and can be life-threatening in the worst case. The first signs of an attack begin before the familiar symptoms of asthma become apparent and may not stop you from doing your daily routines. In order to prevent serious seizures, it is therefore important that you learn to recognize even mild symptoms.
Early warning signs:
- Shortness of breath
- Recurrent cough, especially at night
- Abnormal fatigue or weakness associated with exercise
- Wheezing or coughing during or after exercise ( exertional asthma )
- Mood swings
- Signs of colds or allergies (sneezing, runny nose, cough, sore throat and headache)
- Difficulty sleeping with asthma symptoms at night
- Deterioration of your PEF values
People with allergic asthma can have an asthma attack if they come in contact with a substance that is not tolerated. It can be, for example, fur animals, mites or pollen. Asthma attacks can also be triggered by infections and non-allergic substances in the air that irritate the airways, such as tobacco smoke, exhaust fumes, chemicals and strong odors. The best way to prevent and alleviate asthma attacks is to avoid the substances that you know can trigger your asthma.
Smoking and asthma do not go together and preferably no family member should smoke, at least not indoors. Mold and mites thrive in humid environments, so clean up moisture damage and ensure that there is good ventilation both at home and at work.
Fur allergy does not have to mean that you have to avoid all pets – for example, you may tolerate certain dog breeds – but if you are severely allergic, it is probably best not to have any at home.
If you are allergic to pollen, it is a good idea to follow the pollen reports and possibly increase the preventive medicine at the beginning of the pollen season. Exercising regularly and staying fit is good for asthma, but avoid strenuous physical exertion if you have an infection in your body.
Learn to recognize your symptoms and talk to your doctor about, when and how to take your fast-acting air dilators. Your doctor can also help you decide if and when it is time to seek emergency care.
How should I deal with an asthma attack in my child?
It is especially important to quickly treat asthma in children . Babies and young children may have more diffuse symptoms than adults and the attack may be more severe than you think.
Try to stay calm during the attack and comfort your child – it can help the child to relax and breathe easier. Keep the child under supervision at all times and consult a doctor if the symptoms do not resolve after treatment .