Asthma Attacks

Just as different people have different warning signs of an asthma attack, an attack may feel different to each person. Nonetheless, many people with asthma report that when they have an attack,

  • Initially, breathing may become more difficult and slightly faster than usual. It may also become very difficult and either very fast or very slow.
  • Initially, you may be able to breathe well enough to talk in complete sentences, but gradually, you may be able to speak only a few words at a time without pausing to take a break.
  • You may begin to wheeze, cough, or feel tightness in your chest. Then, you may have severe wheezing, coughing, or chest tightness.
  • Your pulse may become very rapid.
  • You may start to perspire.
  • Your lips and fingers may start turning a bluish color

Warning Signs

Check below any things that you know warn you of an attack coming on:

awakening at night itchy nose
coughing, especially at night chest starts to feel tight or hurts
difficulty breathing sneezing
chest tightness head stopped up
wheezing headache
breathing faster than normal restlessness
getting out of breath easily runny nose
feeling very tired change in face color
itchy, watery, or glassy eyes dark circles under eyes
itchy, scratchy, or sore throat need more beta2agonist than usual
Other    

How To Manage an Asthma Attack

This is where your written asthma action plan comes in. It should tell you the following:

  • Early signs to watch for that mean your asthma is starting to get worse (like a drop in your peak flow number or an increase in symptoms)
  • How to adjust your medicines in response to these changes in your symptoms and peak flow measurements
  • The peak flow levels and symptoms that show you need to seek emergency treatment

Turn to your asthma action plan as soon as you begin to have symptoms and follow it carefully. It can save your life.


Further Reading

Last Updated: Jul 17, 2009

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