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Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs that causes your airways to get inflamed and narrow making it harder to breathe. Asthma sufferers can experience asthma attacks. An asthma attack is also known as an asthma flare up or exacerbation. An allergen or trigger usually causes an asthma attack and will make your asthma symptoms worse. Common symptoms of asthma attacks are severe coughing, breathlessness or shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing. Serious asthma attack symptoms include severe breathlessness or wheezing, especially at night or early morning, unable to speak more than a few short phrases due to shortness of breath, having to strain your chest muscles to breathe, or no improvement in symptoms after using your quick-relief inhaler.
There are different types of allergens that can trigger your asthma to worsen. Common triggers include dust mites, pollens or molds, and pet dander. Other triggers can be cold air, exercise, fumes from chemicals or perfume, tobacco or wood smoke, and changes in weather. Common colds and sinus infections can also trigger asthma, in addition to gastroesophageal reflux.
The first step to managing an asthma attack is to use your rescue or quick-relief inhaler to control your symptoms. After the usual dose of two to four puffs of your quick-relief inhaler every 20 minutes for a total of three doses, you should feel better. If you are better, remember to check your peak flow meter. If your peak flow meter is still very low, this means that your attack was serious. You should have an asthma action plan with directions for treating mild, moderate, or severe asthma attacks. If you are experiencing a serious asthma attack or if your peak expiratory flow is less than 50 percent of your personal best, then call your doctor or go to the hospital emergency room right away. It is important to get the right treatment for your asthma attack as soon as possible.
If you have experienced an asthma attack and have questions, reach out to our professionals at Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Group. Our specialized doctors are knowledgeable in answering all your questions about asthma attacks. We will also be happy to work with you to put together an asthma action plan that is individualized to you. Give us a call today at 805-658-9500 for an appointment with us. Don’t wait until you have an asthma attack. Be ready by reaching out to us!