What to Do in an Asthma Attack: The Steps Explained

For some, having asthma can be a minor nuisance but for others, the chronic condition can be more severe and even life-threatening. There are few things scarier than not being able to breathe and not having one’s inhaler on hand.

Here’s what to do in an asthma attack if you have severe asthma and have no rescue inhaler for immediate use:

Sit up straight

This is crucial because sitting upright helps to keep your airways open. Do not lie down because f you do so while you’re having an asthma attack, this can make the situation worse.

Compared to an inhaler cost, this method of sitting up straight can pay dividends in an emergency.

Remain calm

It’s easier said than done, but staying calm and cool-headed will relax your upper body and reduce the severity of an asthma attack.

This state of calmness prevents further tightening of your chest muscles. It could be helpful to also distract yourself with music or turn on the radio or TV to keep your mind off the attack.

Steady your breathing

Though it can be easy to panic, try to take mindful, slow breaths. Breathing exercises may also be beneficial for reducing asthma symptoms.

There is the Buteyko breathing method in which you slowly breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. There is also the Papworth technique, which involves using your diaphragm and nose to breathe in a specific way.

Eliminate Triggers

Asthma triggers can indeed cause an attack, but they can also worsen symptoms and it’s important to be aware of your triggers. If someone nearby is smoking, for example, and this is a trigger for you, be conscious about moving away from the vicinity of the smoke as soon as possible.

Other things that can cause and worse an attack are allergens, such as pet dander or pollen, strenuous exercise, anxiety-provoking situations, and cold, dry air conditions.

Drink a Hot Caffeinated Beverage

If you have access, brew yourself a cup of coffee. Hot, caffeinated drinks can actually help to expand your lung’s airways a bit, providing some comfort. The relief can last for an hour or two.

What to Do in an Asthma Attack
if Nothing Else Works

You should always call 911 if it seems that nothing else is working. For example, seek help if your symptoms only worsen, even after you’ve tried the above remedies or if you start to feel drowsy or tired due to lack of oxygen.

Other signs that you need immediate care: if your lips or face start to look blue or your breathing is extremely labored in the early morning or late evening hours.

Don’t Panic

If you’ve been triggered and exhibiting symptoms of asthma it’s important to remember that you can manage your attack, even if you don’t have your rescue inhaler available right away. However, asthma attacks can be very serious and if the above recommendations do not provide relief, it is imperative that you call for emergency assistance.

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