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Handling an Asthma Attack

Handling an Asthma Attack

One of the most common pulmonary diseases is asthma. We all probably know what asthma is and know at least one person who’s suffering from such condition. Not all asthmatic episodes require immediate medical attention. But once in awhile, asthmatics experience a severe and persistent kind of asthma. It is medically known as status asthmaticus or acute exacerbation. But for lay men, it is called an “asthma attack”.

This attack will not respond to conventional therapy like asthma inhalers. An asthma attack can occur suddenly with no warning and can develop quickly to asphyxia. Some causes of an acute exacerbation include an infection, increased anxiety, severe lack of fluids, and external irritants.

Signs of asthma attacks are similar to a severe asthmatic episode. Some additional manifestations include labored breathing, prolonged exhalation, puffing up of the neck veins, and wheezing (asthma breathing). As the blockage in the airway is aggravated, the wheezing likely fades away. This may be a warning for respiratory failure.

During an asthma attack, the person might turn blue or cyanotic because of lack of oxygen. Chest pain may also be present, and loss of consciousness may be experienced. The person’s extremities may also feel cold to touch and there might also be numbness.

An asthma attack is often not alleviated by asthma inhalers. Instead of relief, the symptoms may keep on worsening. Even when just talking, the person experiences panting. The patient becomes too breathless to speak, eat, sleep, or do other simple activities.

Status asthmaticus is an emergency situation. It can be fatal. However, most of us do not know what to do in this kind of situation. Asthma can deteriorate very quickly if warning signs are taken for granted. Luckily, you don’t have to panic anymore. Just follow the simple steps below and everything will be just fine.

First, when the person starts to experience the symptoms mentioned above, grab the asthma inhalerimmediately. Try sitting down and make sure that any stiff or tight garments are loosened. Never ever lie down. Lying down may worsen the attack and block the air passages. However, if the asthmatic did not experience any relief from medications or when in doubt, call 911 or your doctor right away.

An earlier appointment to the doctor will signify fewer drug requirements. In addition, it is important for the patient to stay calm. Anxiety will only make the situation worse.

Moreover, fluid intake is vital in people who are experiencing an asthma attack since dehydration is quite a common occurrence. Fluids help loosen and liquefy respiratory secretions, thus making it easy for secretions to be coughed out. Additionally, the person who has just had an asthma attack or is experiencing one should conserve his or her energy.

The room should be quiet and away from any environmental stressor. Finally, since allergens are the main cause of asthma, the surroundings must be free from respiratory irritants like flowers, tobacco smoke, strong perfumes, and many other allergens.


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