What is asthma?
Asthma is a lung infection that harms the airways in your lungs. The airways are pipes that carry air in and out of your lungs. In this condition, the inside walls of these tubes become swollen. This swelling makes the airways very narrow, which causes symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. However, if you have this lung disease, you can usually control your symptoms with medicine, Ventolin evohaler, and certain preventive measures.
If you have asthma, you are likely to wheeze when you take in your breaths. However, this is not always the case. Do not rely on wheezing as a symptom of asthma in yourself or others.
What are the symptoms of this lung infection?
Most people with asthma can deal with their symptoms well. However, it is significant to be aware of the symptoms. It can help you can get proper treatment if your condition flares up. In addition, in such a condition, symptoms usually develop gradually and may include-
- Wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
- Tightness in the chest
- Coughing, which may be dry at first. However, it produces mucus later
- A tight feeling in the throat
It can be helpful to keep a diary for a few weeks noting your symptoms and how often they occur. Moreover, if you find that you have frequent attacks, it may be helpful to talk this over with your doctor. He or she may recommend some medications and a Ventolin evohaler.
It is vital to see your doctor if you have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath at rest. Some people confuse chest pain with asthma symptoms. However, some people mistake an anxiety attack for an asthma attack. If you are not sure, it is crucial to get and diagnose your condition with the help of your doctor.
Asthma is a reversible condition. Moreover, proper treatment can help control symptoms and reduce the chances of attacks. Finding the cause of asthma is also significant. It may help to take steps to avoid these triggers in the future. However, there may not be any obvious trigger for asthma at times. You need to be careful!
What causes asthma attacks?
When you have an asthma attack, your airways become inflamed or irritated, which triggers the muscles around them to go into spasm (contract). Moreover, the lining of the airways also becomes inflamed and produces more mucus than usual. These changes cause the airways to become narrower, resulting in shortness of breath. It can cause mild-to-severe asthma attacks. Moreover, some people may also notice that their heart rate and blood pressure go up. This condition is called a hyperactive sympathetic response). It adds to the feeling of anxiety and panic during an attack. Nevertheless, using rescue medications and Ventolin evohaler can help relieve your symptoms in such cases.
Some factors such as cold air, allergens, infections, and exercise can cause your symptoms to flare up. However, you can also do some things regularly. It may include avoiding some things, which could trigger your condition by irritating the lining of the airways and causing inflammation.
What can trigger asthma symptoms?
Breathing in certain things, which you are allergic to (allergens) is the main trigger for your symptoms. They can vary from person to person. However, the common ones include-
- Pet fur and dander
- Molds and spores found in some foods, such as peanuts and other nuts, and shellfish
- House dust mite, especially in a home with stuffed-up curtains and bedding
Other triggers include-
- Cigarette smoke
- Cold air
- Exercise in cold weather or high altitudes
- Viral respiratory infections
What is an asthma attack?
An asthma attack is also known as an acute asthma exacerbation. It is an abrupt worsening of airflow obstruction in someone with this lung infection. This condition causes symptoms, such as wheezing, breathing difficulties (dyspnea), chest tightness or pain, and coughing. Nevertheless, you should use your rescue medications and Ventolin evohaler as soon as possible if you feel like having an attack.
What are the warning symptoms of an asthma attack?
It is important to note that there are no warning signs of an asthma attack. Symptoms may start suddenly and get worse very quickly. It leads to complete obstruction of the airways (bronchospasm) within minutes. However, the initial symptoms of such a condition include the following-
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- Dry cough
- Tightness in the chest
The initial symptoms may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Therefore, always talk with your doctor for a diagnosis before considering it otherwise.
Who is at more risk of having an asthma attack?
The following people are more prone to this lung infection-
- People who have a predisposition to allergies
- People who have a history of allergy or asthma in their family
- People who are exposed to dust, pollen, and animals
What should you do during an asthma attack?
Asthma attacks and episodes of bronchospasm can be very frightening. The most important thing you can do is stay calm and ensure that the person gets sufficient oxygen in their lungs. Moreover, you should always have a Ventolin evohaler with you if you have a lung infection or other allergic reactions.
Other helpful things are-
Know about your condition
First off, you should inform yourself about your condition. It is an urgent situation that needs instant medical attention. An asthma attack is a dangerous condition for your health. Therefore, it is vital to know what to do when your condition worsens.
Be ready with your rescue
Reacting fast and effectively during the first six minutes is a key element you must know. However, if you wait too long, your lungs may suffer damage.
Know when to seek medical help
If you start noticing the symptoms such as the difficulty of breath, wheezing, or coughing, which does not stop after a minute or two, which is a sign of an asthma attack. In such cases, call for immediate medical attention.
Many people who suffer from this lung disease and respiratory complications do not know they should call for help when the first symptoms appear. Nevertheless, it is vital to react fast. Failure in doing so can cause bronchospasm. Furthermore, it may result in a heart attack or even death.
Know your triggers
It is vital to identify the triggers of your asthma attack. Once you know, keep them away. Avoiding triggers is not always easy. Therefore, you should know how to use your Ventolin evohaler properly. Keep it with you at all times. It will be a great help for preventing an asthma attack.
The warning symptoms of an asthma attack can be-
- Difficulty in breathing, especially when you are exhaling the breath
- Wheezing sound when you exhale
- Persistent coughing, which does not stop after a minute or two
Asthma attack symptoms can be very dangerous for your health. For that reason, you must keep them away anyhow. Otherwise, you may start experiencing bronchospasm, which can result in a heart attack or even death.
In addition, seek medical attention immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms-
- The lips turn blue or grayish.
- The fingers are tingling because there is not enough oxygen in the blood.
- However, if there is no time to call for help, you must know how to get out of the symptom fast.
- If the patient has their spacer attached to the MDI, they should use it if possible. It makes giving each puff much easier and more effective.
Other useful things to remember are-
- Keep calm and do not panic. It won’t help the situation.
- Loosen any tight clothing around the person’s chest and neck.
What should you do when you do not have your Ventolin evohaler during an asthma attack?
If you think you are having an asthma attack but don’t have your inhaler on you, here is what to do-
- Calm down
Sit down and make yourself comfortable. However, if it is difficult for you to breathe in a sitting position, stand up and walk around. It may usually help open your airways and ease the feeling of tightness in your chest.
- Get some air
Turn on a fan or get close to an air conditioner that is on, if possible. The moving air may help you breathe easier. Moreover, it may make it less likely for mucus to stick to the inner walls of your lungs, which can cause infection later on. Be sure not to stay upwind from the moving air. It might make it even harder to breathe.
- Use a paper bag
Take some deep breaths from a paper bag. Breathing into a paper bag may help reduce the air pressure in your lungs and open up any closed airways. However, if this does not work, breathe into a cloth bag, such as a pillowcase or towel. You can also place a few drops of baby oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil in the bag. It may help trap some of the water in your lungs and loosen up any mucus.
- Place a pan on top of yourself
One of the things which can help when do not have your Ventolin evohaler is placing a pan on top of yourself. It can open your airways and ease tightness in your chest when you find it difficult to breathe while lying down. Moreover, be sure to place the pan over your stomach, not your chest.
- Avoid taking heavy breaths
Avoid taking big and heavy breaths in and out of your lungs. It may only irritate the already closed airways. Moreover, it may make it more difficult for you to breathe in the long run. Allow yourself to take very shallow breaths when this happens to keep from hyperventilating or becoming lightheaded.
- Avoid exposure to smoke
Be sure to avoid any exposure to smoke or other triggers, which typically worsen your symptoms. However, if you happen to come across a prompter while having an asthma attack, try to avoid it at all costs.
Remember, your symptoms can become out of control at any time and without warning. Therefore, it is crucial to always have your medication on you for this reason.
How can you prevent an asthma attack?
- Avoid the triggers
The first step to preventing worsening your condition is avoiding the triggers that affect you the most. If pollen affects you, stay indoors on high-pollen days or wear a mask when you go outside. Moreover, if cold air bothers you, bundle up before going out in the winter season. Keeping track of your asthma triggers can also help keep you out of the emergency room. Moreover, always carry your Ventolin evohaler with you.
- Take your medicines on time
Take your medicines regularly and follow your doctor’s instructions about when and how much to take. Long-term control medications cannot stop an attack once it starts. However, they can prevent attacks if taken regularly. If your doctor has prescribed you short-acting rescue inhalers, make sure to use them only for attacks. However, do not use them as a regular treatment.
- Know what to do when your symptoms go out of control
If your symptoms are getting worse every second and the treatments are not working, call your doctor right away. Your doctor will decide if it is necessary for you to come to the hospital for treatment. However, if you do not have a doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Take your Ventolin evohaler with you. It may help your doctor see how much medicine you took and how it affected you. Moreover, if you have a peak flow meter, bring it to the hospital. It will assist your doctor in figuring out how well your lungs are working.
In most cases, asthma attacks can be controlled without an overnight stay in the hospital. However, if you need to stay in the hospital for more than three days, your doctor may refer you to a pulmonologist. A pulmonologist is a doctor who specializes in lung disease.