Health

Asthma: Four ways to help prevent a life-threatening asthma attack

During an asthma attack, narrowed airways are lined with excess mucus, making it harder to breathe. Don't enable the condition to take your breath away, manage it well everyday with these guidelines.

The Mayo Clinic points out the symptoms of an asthma attack everyone needs to be aware of.

These include severe shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, and coughing or wheezing.

In addition, any symptoms that fail to respond to a quick-acting (rescue) inhaler are indicative of an asthma attack.

Identify asthma triggers

WebMD testify that in order to prevent an asthma attack, you need to identify your asthma triggers.

These triggers may be unique to you, but common ones include: air pollution, allergies, cold air, smoke and fragrances.

It may be beneficial to note down when symptoms of asthma occur for several weeks.

Remember to include environmental and emotional details - this may enable you to spot trends.

Avoid smoke

"Smoke and asthma are a bad mix," warn WebMD, but it's not only cigarette smoke they're on about - incense, candles, fires and fireworks all count.

Remove allergens

If you have any allergies, such as pet allergies, it's important to keep your distance from allergens.

"Allergen exposure can increase the inflammation in your airways for a while, making an attack more likely," explained WebMD.

This extends to allergy-proofing your home to reduce your risk of an asthma attack.

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Medication

Long-term asthma medications, such as inhalers, are designed to prevent symptoms and attacks.

It's advisable to take puffs everyday, even if you don't have symptoms, as it'll help ease inflammation in your airways.

The NHS testify that an "asthma attack kills three people in the UK every day" – and these deaths could have been avoidable.

People who have asthma are encouraged to visit an asthma nurse or doctor at least once a year for a check-up and to discuss your treatment.


During an asthma attack

If you think you're having an asthma attack, the NHS instruct you to do the following:

Sit upright (do not lie down) and try to take slow, steady breaths. Try to remain calm, as panicking will make things worse.

Take 1 puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.Call 999 for an ambulance if you do not have your inhaler with you, you feel worse despite using your inhaler, you do not feel better after taking 10 puffs or you're worried at any point.If the ambulance has not arrived within 15 minutes, repeat step 2."If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, get an urgent same-day appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse," added the NHS.

There are certain things you can do to manage your asthma day-to-day, such as exercising regularly.


Although exercise can be a trigger for some people, the NHS assure that if you're on appropriate treatment, this shouldn't be the case.

Speaking of treatment, make sure you're using your inhaler correctly by visiting Asthma UK, which has information on how to do so.

Always check before taking other medications that it's suitable for someone with asthma.

The simple advice from the national health body is "do not smoke" - stopping smoking can significantly reduce how severe and frequent symptoms are.



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