Asthma is a condition that causes narrowing and inflammation of the airways, making it hard to breathe. A severe asthma attack, also known as an acute asthma exacerbation, can be quite frightening and requires medical care. Symptoms of an asthma attack include coughing, wheezing, noisy breathing, and tightness in the chest. If you’ve suffered an asthma attack, seek medical attention from a qualified, board-certified physician at the Urgency Room.
We’ve put together our recommendations for home care and follow-up care after an asthma attack. If you or your child suffer from asthma, use this information to stay informed of at-home care and symptoms to watch out for.
Many things can trigger an asthma attack. Here are just a few potential causes:
Once you’re home, fill any prescriptions the doctor gave you and take them right away as instructed, particularly if you’ve been prescribed antibiotics. Be sure to finish the entire antibiotic prescription, even if you’re feeling better. Your healthcare provider may have given you a prescription for a steroid to reduce inflammation.
Prescription inhalers or nebulizers can help loosen tight air passages. If you were given a prescription for an inhaler, use this as directed. Your doctor may recommend using the inhaler on a scheduled basis for a few days and then moving to using it as needed. Inhalers also work much better when used with a spacer.
You can also use nonprescription cough or cold medicines to ease your symptoms. These often don’t make the cough go away completely, however. If you have a fever, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help bring it down and may make you more comfortable.
Be sure to avoid smoking or inhaling nearby smoke. This could make your symptoms worse. If you have smoked in the past, now may be a good time to quit. Reach out to your doctor if you need assistance or resources in this area.
After your initial visit, you should stay on the lookout for any new or worsening symptoms. If you have any concerns about you or your child’s health, don’t hesitate to come see us again.
You should return to the Urgency Room if you notice the following:
If your child has experienced asthma, watch for the following symptoms, and if you notice any of them, visit the Urgency Room right away:
You should also keep an eye out for dehydration in particular, and come see us if your child is showing the following signs:
If you see a new symptom that isn’t on our list, don’t be shy. It never hurts to be on the safe side. Come see us if your child faints, has a convulsion or seizure, seems much more ill, won’t wake up, won’t respond correctly, is not taking fluids well, or is crying for a long time and won’t calm down.
It’s important for both children and adults to have a follow-up appointment with your regular doctor or clinic. Remember—if something is worrying you, don’t hesitate to return to the Urgency Room to be reevaluated. Your health is important to us, and we hope you feel better soon.
These videos are intended to provide helpful health information to the general public. They are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat health problems, and you should not use these videos in place of a call or visit to a medical professional. Talk with your physician about the proper treatment for your particular condition, and always follow your physician's advice. If you think you need an ambulance or are experiencing a medical emergency, please dial 911 immediately.