Asthma attacks can be frightening and debilitating, especially when your inhaler is out of reach. It’s important to have a plan in place for these situations so you can manage your symptoms and get the help you need. Asthma attacks can be scary, but by following the steps below and working with your doctor, you can manage your asthma and stay healthy.
What is an asthma attack?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects millions of people all over the world. It is caused by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which can lead to difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing. Survey has shown that approximately 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma which is about 1 in 13 people.
While there are many effective treatments for asthma, including inhalers and other medications, there may be times when your inhaler is out of reach during an asthma attack.
What if you experience an asthma attack without your inhaler? If you are having an asthma attack and your inhaler is out of reach, there are several things you can do to try to alleviate your symptoms and prevent the attack from worsening.
1. Try to Remain Calm
It can be scary to experience an asthma attack without your inhaler, but panicking will only make your breathing more difficult. Take slow, deep breaths and try to focus on relaxing your muscles, especially those in your chest and neck. This will help to open your airways and make it easier for you to breathe.
2. Get some fresh air
If you are indoors, open a window or step outside if possible. If you are outside, move to a location with less pollution or allergens, such as away from traffic or cigarette smoke. Inhaling cool, clean air can help to soothe your airways and ease your symptoms.
- Sit Upright
During an asthma attack, sitting upright is the best position to take. It can help open up your airways and make it easier to breathe. Avoid lying down, which can make it harder to catch your breath.
- Use a cool mist humidifier
Dry air can irritate your airways and make it harder to breathe. Using a cool mist humidifier can help moisten the air and make it easier to breathe.
- Try nasal irrigation
Nasal irrigation involves using a saline solution to flush out your nasal passages. This can help remove irritants and mucus, which can help alleviate asthma symptoms.
- Use a peak flow meter
A peak flow meter is a device that measures how fast you can breathe out. By using a peak flow meter, you can get an idea of how severe your asthma attack is and whether you need to seek medical help.
- Get to a hospital or call for emergency help
If your symptoms are severe or you’re having difficulty catching your breath, it’s important to get medical help as soon as possible. Call 911 or go to the nearest hospital if you’re unable to reach your inhaler and your symptoms are worsening.
It’s also important to work with your doctor to create an asthma action plan. This plan can help you identify your triggers and know how to handle an asthma attack. It’s also a good idea to keep your inhaler with you at all times so that it’s always within reach when you need it.
What are the symptoms of an asthma attack?
Before an impending asthma attack, some symptoms are notably visible. Some of these symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Low peak flow meter score, if you use one.
- Coughing and wheezing
- Fast breathing or breathing through the mouth.
- Chest pain or tightness of the chest.
It is important to note your symptoms so as to take the necessary preventive measures.
How can I prevent an asthma attack?
In addition to the above steps, there are several other things you can do to help prevent an asthma attack and keep your symptoms under control. These include:
- Taking your prescribed asthma medications as directed by your healthcare provider
- Avoiding triggers that can worsen your asthma, such as tobacco smoke, pollen, and air pollution.
- Keeping a clean and well-ventilated home to reduce the risk of allergens and irritants.
- Exercising regularly to help improve your overall respiratory health.
- Getting vaccinated to protect against respiratory infections, such as the flu.
If you’re having frequent asthma attacks or your inhaler doesn’t seem to be helping, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can help you find the right treatment plan to manage your asthma and reduce the risk of future attacks.
Are you concerned about your respiratory health? At PCC, we have pulmonologists who are dedicated to ensuring that your respiratory needs are met. You can contact us on the emergency hotlines here and have access to quality medical assistance.