How to Stop an Asthma Attack

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Stop an Asthma Attack
Stop an Asthma Attack

How to Stop an Asthma Attack. Sometimes an asthma attack can be stopped if you relax, use your inhaler and breathe effectively. Other times, treatment for an asthma attack requires a trip to the hospital. The key is proper planning, so you know what to do when an attack occurs.

Things You'll Need

  • Asthma Medications
  • Peak Flow Meter

Try not to panic. This will cause your muscles to get tense, your bronchial tubes to spasm, and your breathing to become shallow and fast.

Begin pursed-lip breathing. (See below.)

Use your peak flow meter to check the severity of your attack.

Use your inhalant - generally two puffs of a beta agonist every 20 minutes.

Get away from triggers such as pet dander, smoke, cold air and perfume.

Assess your response to treatment. Good response is a mild cough or wheeze; fair response is a marked cough and wheeze and mild use of rib and neck muscles to breathe. Poor response is a severe cough and wheeze, an inability to talk, and blue lips and nail beds.

Use your asthma medications as ordered by your doctor. Usually, the doctor will have given you exact instructions on what medicines to use during an attack. Generally, when you've had a good response, continue treatment with nebulizer every four hours. For a fair response, begin an oral steroid burst. For poor response, start an oral steroid burst and call your doctor or go to the emergency room.

Follow the medication instructions carefully to reverse the bronchospasms.

Tips & Warnings

  • To purse-lip breathe: Close your mouth and inhale through your nose. Purse your lips as if you are going to blow out a candle. Exhale slowly with as little force as possible. Your exhale should last twice as long as your inhale.
  • Don't hold your breath between inhalation and exhalation.
  • Peak flow meters are inexpensive instruments that can be used by the patient to measure lung function. They are an excellent self-care tool and invaluable in assessing the severity of an asthma attack.
  • For more information on asthma, call (800) 7-ASTHMA during business hours, Monday through Friday, Eastern Standard Time.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other healthcare professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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