Did you know that, on average, 11 Americans die from asthma each day? This fact alone is enough to convey how life-threatening an asthma flare-up can be.
An asthma attack, or flare-up, is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms and lung function. An asthma flare-up can develop slowly– over hours, days, or sometimes weeks – or quickly, over minutes. An asthma attack means you:
- Find it hard to breathe
- Cough a lot
- Have chest tightness
- Have a wheeze when you breathe
- Notice a feeling of tugging of the skin between the ribs, or at the base of the neck
This can be especially harmful if you do not have reliever medication on hand (usually an inhaler), or if the effect of the medication is no longer lasting for as long as it used to work for you.
A bad asthma flare-up can be an emergency. Let’s talk about what you can do if you have a sudden asthma attack, and where you can go in Parker County, Tarrant County, and the North Texas area for world-class asthma and pulmonary (lung) care.
What You Can Do for an Asthma Attack
If you, your child, or someone around you has trouble breathing, chest tightness, or other severe asthma-like symptoms, call 911 immediately. The emergency responders will provide the person with breathing assistance, and they will bring the person to the emergency room where their condition will be evaluated and treated.
While you wait for the ambulance to arrive, follow the following steps to manage the asthma attack:
- Try to remain calm, and sit up straight (do not lie down!).
- Shake the puffer, put one puff in the spacer, and take 4 breaths from the spacer. (If you don’t have a spacer, simply take the puffs into your mouth.)Make sure to take one puff every 30 to 60 seconds. Take a total of 10 puffs, and wait for symptoms to disappear.
- If after 15 minutes the symptoms get worse or do not improve with the first 10 puffs, and emergency help has not arrived yet, take another 10 puffs in the same way.
After receiving emergency care, it’s important to see a pulmonary specialist.
Preventing an Asthma Attack
If you’ve already received a diagnosis of asthma before this asthma attack, your asthma doctor should have prescribed you a quick-relief inhaler, allergy medication, and long-term asthma medications that may include beta-agonists, corticosteroids, and leukotriene modifiers. These, if taken properly (and kept on hand at all times), are great at preventing the need for emergency care. However, if you still had a bad flare-up, that means you were either exposed to your asthma trigger or aren’t taking your medications correctly.
If you have had an asthma attack but have never been diagnosed previously, be sure to partner with an experienced pulmonologist or asthma doctor as soon as possible to avoid future attacks. The asthma doctor will make a detailed treatment plan and give you some instructions on how to avoid future attacks. You will also be informed of the triggers you must avoid in order to prevent future asthma attacks.
Pulmonary Specialist in Weatherford, TX
The best way to prevent an asthma flare-up is to take preventive medications. So, if you or your loved one is sometimes wheezing, having trouble breathing, or experiencing other asthma-like symptoms, visit our pulmonary specialists at the Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas.
Our lung doctors are highly experienced and skilled at treating pulmonary conditions, including asthma. We will guide you on how to prevent an asthma attack from happening, and how to manage an attack before it gets worse.
If you would like to make an appointment with a pulmonary specialist, call our friendly staff today at (817) 594-9993or request an appointment via our online form now. We look forward to helping you keep your asthma symptoms at bay!