As a parent of a child who suffers from asthma, I can relate firsthand to the panic and fear which can occur when you or a loved one has an asthma attack. This is why it is crucial to know what to do when this happens.
An asthma attack occurs when the muscles are tightened around your airways. The airways can become swollen, inflamed, and the mucus which is normally produced becomes thicker. When this tightening occurs in your airways it can cause coughing, wheezing, tightening of the chest, and an inability to move air out of the chest. It is particularly scary because you feel as though you cannot breathe or get enough air.
If you or someone around you is having an asthma attack, here are some immediate steps you should take:
- Stay calm, sit up, and administer 1-2 puffs of your rescue inhaler. While doing so, take slow, steady breaths. If there is a trigger which has caused you to have an asthma attack e.g., smoke, perfume, etc., immediately remove this trigger.
- If you still do not feel any better, take 2 additional puffs of your rescue inhaler, one puff at a time every 2 minutes. You can take up to 10 puffs.
- If your symptoms worsen and you still do not feel any relief relating to your breathing, call 911 immediately. If the ambulance doesn’t come within a 10-minute period of time, continue to repeat step 3.
- Finally, follow up with your primary care physician and schedule an appointment within 48 hours to ensure you are ok and determine if any follow up adjustments need to be made with regard to your asthma treatment plan.