If you are among those who cough a lot, especially at night, and often lose their breath, then you should beware! These may be the symptoms of an asthma attack. Here, in this article you will get a fine detail about asthma attacks, the symptoms to identify it and the treatments available.
What is an asthma attack?
Asthma is the inflammation of the airways. An estimated 235 million people in the United States are affected by the same. People with asthma often experience recurrent attacks of breathlessness, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. In general, asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways and its causes vary from person to person. But, one thing is consistent in asthma is that when the airways come in contact with an asthma trigger, the airways become inflamed and fill with mucus.
At the time of an asthma attack, also known as an asthma exacerbation, the muscles around the airways contract, and you may experience coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing. The symptoms of Asthma attack may get better with prompt home treatment, but a severe asthma attack can become a life-threatening emergency if not treated with home remedies.
Causes and symptoms of an asthma attack
A number of reasons can trigger an asthma attack. These include the following:
• Allergies- A common problem with asthma is allergies. About 80 percent of asthmatic patients have allergies to airborne substances like a tree, grass, and weed pollens, dust mites, mold, animal dander, and cockroaches.
• Certain food and food additives- Various asthmatic patients have food allergies that can cause mild to severe life-threatening reactions. Some of the common foods associated with allergic symptoms include dairy products like milk, butter,peanuts, soy, wheat, and fish.
• Exercise induced asthma- Stringent exercising routine can also cause narrowing of the airways in about 80% of people with asthma. However, in some people, exercise is the primary trigger. In case you have exercise-induced asthma, you may experience chest tightness, coughing, and difficulty in breathing within the first few minutes of workout. In order to deal with the situation, you need to warm up slowly prior to rigorous exercise, as doing this may prevent an attack.
• Smoking- Smoking cigarettes may make you more prone to get asthma as compared to those who don’t smoke. If you are asthmatic and also smoke, then you may experience symptoms of an asthma attack like severe coughing and wheezing.
Apart from the triggers mentioned above, there are other factors that cause an asthma attack. These include infections, certain medications, irritants like air pollution and strong odors, and weather changes.
Treatment of an asthma attack:
Following the asthma care plan at the time of an asthma attack is the best you can do to deal with the situation. In case, the symptoms don’t improve, seek immediate medical care. If there is a need for a visit to the emergency room for an asthma attack, you may get the following medications:
• Short-acting beta agonists- You may be given Albuterol, it is a quick relief medication that gives an instant relief to the patients at the time of an asthma attack. Albuterol may provide you immediate relief as it works by relaxing the muscles that tighten around the airways.
• Oral Corticosteroids- To get the symptoms under control, your doctor may prescribe you oral Corticosteroids. These drugs work efficiently by reducing lung inflammation. Moreover, in severe asthma attack cases, corticosteroids can be given intravenously.
• Ipratropium- You may also be given Ipratropium, as it immediately relaxes the airways and also makes breathing easier.
How to prevent asthma attacks?
The asthma care plan should be the priority for you in order to avoid an asthma attack. In general, asthma care plan is a written action plan for tracking the symptoms and adjusting yourself and medications, accordingly. Below are various tips to prevent asthma attacks. These are as follows:
• Avoiding the trigger factors like smoke, cold weather, per dander and many more may prevent you from getting an asthma attack
• Incase your symptoms flare up when you have a cold or the flu, take necessary steps to avoid an asthma attack by restricting yourself going outside.
• You can also cover your mouth with a face mask
• If you have allergies, then reduce your exposure to allergy triggers
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Asthma is a lifelong illness, and you have to live with it throughout your life. But, you can prevent your asthma attack symptoms by following the above mentioned useful tips.