An asthma attack is a sudden condition that is caused by the tightening of the muscles around the airways (also called as Bronchospasm). During this condition, the airways get inflamed and above normal mucus get produced. All these factors cause shortness of breath, wheezing etc.
Other noticeable symptoms that are observed during the asthma attack include:
- Difficulty in talking and speaking full sentences
- Blue colored lips or fingernails
- Feelings of anxiousness and panic
- Tightness in the chest
- Non-stop coughing
- Bluish tint on the lips
How does one identify the early signs of an asthma attack?
This is difficult because the early signs are subtle and generally don’t hamper your everyday activities. But if you are alert and can identify these, you can save yourself from the worst attack and in some case also prevent the occurrence of an attack.
Some of the early symptoms include:
- Losing breath easily
- Frequent coughing especially during the night time
- Tiredness and grouchy mood
- Symptoms of cold and allergies, namely a running nose, sore throat, headache, and nasal congestion
- A decrease in the lung function on a peak flow meter
However, if you get caught in a difficult situation like the worst attack, here are some right steps that you should take so that you can feel better faster.
- Use the inhaler properly – Many patients don’t use their inhalers correctly. While some don’t position it correctly others inhale the medication too fast, causing it to reach the throat rather than the airway.
- Stop – Stop whatever you are doing especially if you are doing something rigorous. Sit down and relax till the symptoms subside. Try to breathe in through your nose and out from your mouth. This will help warm the air as it enters your lungs. Some patients also get relief by practicing Yogic breathing or pranayama, but there is no proof that this practice helps one and all.
- Stay away from asthmatic triggers – If you sense that some outdoor factors are causing the attack, venture indoors. Blow your nose and rinse with salt to clear the irritants. You can also take a shower to wash off the irritants.
- Stay hydrated – During an attack, it is highly advisable to stay hydrated. So regularly sip water, a juice, or tea. However, ensure that whatever you are drinking is at room temperature. Anything too hot or cold can cause muscle spasms in the airways.
- Follow your asthma action plan and the medication as suggested by your doctor.
How does one prevent an asthma attack?
- Be regular with your medication and doctor’s appointments.
- Use a peak flow meter regularly. This will tell you how well your lungs are functioning. If you notice a dip in your lung performances starts with the implementation of your asthma action plan immediately.
- Keep a tab on your medication and let the doctor know if they are not working well for you