An asthma attack can quickly escalate into an emergency requiring immediate first aid and medical treatment. You can reduce the risks of an asthma emergency if you take immediate action. Its symptoms worsen during an asthma flare-up. You may have trouble breathing, a persistent cough, a tight chest, or unmanageable wheezing. It can strike gradually over hours, days, weeks, or even minutes.
If you or a family member suffers from a respiratory illness like asthma, make sure you have an up-to-date asthma emergency plan from your doctor and are familiar with the four steps of quick asthma medication.
There are several treatments for asthma. Your doctor may prescribe you some medication, help you develop a plan to control your asthma, and provide you with an instructive emergency plan in case of an asthma attack.
Factors that Trigger Asthma
Adult-onset asthma is when a doctor diagnoses asthma in people over the age of 20. Among those who are prone to adult-onset asthma are women undergoing hormonal changes because of pregnancy or those taking estrogen following a 10-year or longer menopause. It can also affect people who contracted certain viruses like flu or cold, people who are sensitive to cat allergens, people who have GERD, and those exposed to irritants like smoke or dust.
The condition can worsen if a person has a history of asthma in the family, a history of reaction to certain irritants. Exposure to smoke, dust and pollution in urban areas can also trigger asthma.
Treatment of Asthma in Adults
Asthma medications are classified into two types:
Anti-inflammatories are primary type of medication for most asthma patients. Inhaled steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs lessen swelling and mucus formation in the airways. Airways become less sensitive and are less likely to respond to triggers with the help of anti-inflammatory drugs. These meds must be taken daily and may take a few weeks to work.
Bronchodilators are drugs that ease tense muscles that surround the airways. This type of asthma medicine opens the airways and supports breathing with greater airflow into and out of the lungs. The mucus moves more freely, and it is easier to cough as the airways open. Exercise-induced asthma symptoms can be avoided using both short-acting and long-acting beta-agonists.
You can use an asthma nebulizer, dry powder inhaler, or metered dose inhaler to treat this condition. You can also take oral treatments such as pills or liquids to manage your condition.
Asthma Emergency Response
If your doctor diagnoses you with asthma, you must identify the causes. You may be able to prevent an attack by avoiding these triggers. However, in case of emergency, these are the steps you can follow.
So, if you suspect an asthma attack, you should:
- Have your asthma first aid handy
- Sit up straight to help your breathing
- Loosen your clothes to support easy breathing
- Use your inhaler (preferably with a spacer)
- Continue using the inhaler if symptoms persist
- Monitor yourself for any signs of improvement
- If the condition worsens, call for help
- Visit a doctor for some medical attention
Sticking to your asthma plan can prevent asthma attacks and reduce the disruptions associated with its symptoms. Regularly discuss your treatment with your doctor. Maintain an asthma management journal to track your condition and make important notes.