Asthma affects millions of Americans across the U.S as 1 in 14 adults has some form of asthma. In addition, asthma-related office visits accounted for 6.2 percent of all physician visits in 2015, which equals out to nearly 9.6 million people.
There are few things more frightening and stressful for a person than an asthma attack. During an asthma attack, a person’s airways become tightened to a point of severe asphyxiation and usually requires the use of an inhaler. Without an inhaler, a person experiencing an asthma attack may require emergency medical attention.
Thankfully, preventing an asthma attack is simple with some basic prevention skills. If you or someone else has asthma then make sure you follow the guidelines below to successfully prevent an asthma attack:
Identify symptoms of an asthma attack
There are several symptoms that indicate an asthma attack is happening. However, it helps to understand that a person may have a few different symptoms that could gradually manifest into a full-blown asthma attack. These symptoms include:
- Severe wheezing that won’t stop
- Intense coughing
- Very rapid breathing
- Tightness around the chest and neck
- Feelings of anxiety or panic
- Pale sweaty face
Patients should be more alert when they experience a combination of these symptoms. Having more than one symptom usually means that an asthma attack is happening. If an individual is experiencing an asthma attack then take the following precautions:
Always have an inhaler on hand and call 911 for severe attacks
The good news is that most asthma attacks are minor and only require the use of an inhaler to reverse an asthma attack.
An inhaler is a medicated device that relieves asthma symptoms through nasal or airway administration. The patient experiencing the asthma attack simply has to self administer the device by pushing a button. Additionally, there are other types of inhalers including nasal sprays and neutralizers depending upon the severity of the patient’s asthma.
If a patient’s symptoms do not start to go away after using an inhaler, call 9-1-1 immediately. This usually means that person is having a severe asthma attack that requires medical care.
Prevent asthma triggers at home
One of the most effective ways to reduce asthma is to reduce asthma triggers in your household. Common asthma triggers including dust mites, molds, pollens, pets, cockroaches, and household chemicals are likely to set off an asthma attack. A few ways to reduce/prevent triggers includes:
- Use allergen-proof pillow cases and bedding to reduce allergens
- Wash bedding in hot water once a week
- Install hardwood floors instead of carpet and limit vacuuming around people with asthma
- Change filters on air conditioners and heaters frequently to reduce the spread of allergens
- Manage clutter, dust frequently, and make sure the house is as clean as possible
Asthma doesn’t have to control your life as long as you are aware of basic prevention and treatment skills. And as always you can always consult your nearby AFC Southlake urgent care center to evaluate any asthma needs!