An asthma attack can come on suddenly and may worsen if not treated quickly. It is important to know the symptoms and first aid treatment for asthma to help restore proper breathing when someone is having an asthma attack.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects people of all ages. It often begins in childhood and continues into adulthood. More than 25 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with asthma.
Asthma is a reaction in the lungs that leads to inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes which are the passages that allow air to flow through to the lungs. When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. The airways then become inflamed, narrow, and swell.
They also produce extra mucus and cause spasms in the bronchi of the lungs, restricting the air flow and making it difficult to breathe. If left untreated, the swelling can worsen, restricting the airways even further.
Treating asthma at the onset of symptoms is necessary to prevent complete blockage of the airway which could lead to death if the symptoms are left untreated and continue to worsen. Therefore, it is important to seek emergency care.
The most common symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath. During the night and first thing in the morning, coughing is usually worse. Wheezing is a whistling or raspy sound which occurs when breathing.
Sometimes asthma can start as tightness in the chest that feels like a heaviness in the lungs. People who have asthma relate that they are unable to catch their breath, or feel short of breath. You might feel like you can’t get air out of your lungs.
Prevention of asthma
You can avoid needing first aid for an asthma attack by taking proper precautions to prevent an attack in the first place.
Asthma symptoms typically result from an allergic reaction or another form of hypersensitivity to certain inhaled irritants such as smoke or perfumes. The reaction causes swelling in the airways and makes them more sensitive to irritants, causing the symptoms to continue and progress. Some factors may be more likely to cause asthma in some people than others.
Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include indoor and outdoor allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen. Other causes are linked to illness, physical activity, diet, and stress. Preventing your asthma symptoms can be as easy as addressing these triggers.
If you or someone you know is suffering from shortness of breath or wheezing, it may be caused by an asthma attack. The first thing you should do is have the person sit down in a chair and loosen any tight clothing. Leaning forward can help to open the airways. The next step is to administer medication, typically this will be an inhaler.
If medication is not available, and symptoms do not improve, or the person begins to turn blue, call 911 for immediate assistance.
If your asthma is severe and you have seen a doctor, you may need to take prescription medication to keep your symptoms under control. The right medications for you will depend on a number of things—your age, symptoms, and asthma triggers.
Work with your doctor to create an asthma action plan that outlines in writing all recommendations to manage your symptoms. These recommendations may include medication as well as tracking your symptoms to monitor how well your treatment is controlling your asthma.
If you are interested in a natural treatment plan for asthma and want to avoid taking medication, read the e-book Asthma Free Forever. This book was written by Jerry Ericson, a researcher and homeopathic practitioner.
The treatments contained in this book are based on his 20 plus years of helping asthma sufferers quickly and permanently eliminate their symptoms with natural remedies. This book is appropriate for all types of asthma as its step-by-step instructions can be used in combination with medication for those suffering from the most severe symptoms.
The causes of asthma are not fully understood. You should monitor your symptoms and triggers and always have an inhaler on hand for emergencies. Sometimes people naturally outgrow their symptoms. Other times, regular treatment with proper medication or natural remedies may make the disease seem to be cured. However, it is vital to remember that once you have been diagnosed with asthma, it can always recur.