Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs. During an asthma attack, the airways become narrower than usual which causes difficulty in breathing. Asthma needs constant care and proper management, as one’s life depends on it.
What does an asthma attack look like?
Symptoms of an asthma attack are wheezing, coughing, tight chest, and difficulty in breathing.
The first line for treating an asthma attack is to use a rescue inhaler, which contains medication that expands the airways. However, if you happen to be caught without your inhaler due to unforeseen circumstances, you could try these techniques.
Six things to do if you do not have an inhaler with you and you have an episode.
Sit upright: Stop whatever you are doing and sit upright. Do not Bend over or lie down as it can make your breathing even more difficult.
Take long, deep breaths: This helps to slow down your breathing and prevent hyperventilation. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth normally.
Stay calm: Try to remain as calm as you can while you’re having an asthma attack. Panicking can worsen your symptoms, and further tighten the chest muscles.
Move away from the trigger: The attack could be triggered by dust, cigarette smoke, pets, pests or the smell of chemicals amongst others. Get away from the trigger quickly to any place with clean air to prevent your symptoms from getting worse. It is also important to know your triggers as it varies between individuals.
Take a hot caffeinated beverage: Hot caffeinated drinks like coffee can help to open the airways slightly, providing some relief for a moment.
Seek emergency medical help: If the wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulty do not reduce after a period of rest, seek immediate medical attention. Contact an emergency medical responder for further assistance.
It’s advisable to go and see a doctor even if you have recovered from an asthma attack. Asthma attacks are signs that your asthma is not well-controlled. You may need stronger medication for a worsening asthmatic condition.