During a bronchial asthma crisis, the airways narrow and mucus increases. This situation makes breathing difficult and can cause wheezing, a choking sensation and an increase in heart rate and respiratory rate.
Although many manage to control it without difficulty, others experience it severely, requiring medical intervention. But in view of the fact that professional attention can not always be immediate, it is essential to know how to react to the emergency.
Identifying warning symptoms and learning some first aid guidelines is crucial to avoid any complications. Therefore, both patients and family members should know an action plan that allows them to handle it correctly.
What is bronchial asthma?
Bronchial asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways that is characterized by narrowing of the bronchi. This can occur due to the irritation of their walls or as a consequence of the contraction of the surrounding muscles (bronchospasm).
The blockage suffered by the respiratory tract can interfere with respiratory capacity, generating life-threatening attacks. However, it is almost always a reversible condition that can be overcome if it is attended to in a timely manner.
The disease as such has no cure, but can be controlled with some therapies and medications. It is important to continuously monitor their evolution, since it tends to have different manifestations over time.
How to identify a bronchial asthma crisis?
Bronchial asthma attacks occur when the respiratory tract reacts to certain environmental stimuli that worsen irritation and mucus. The recognition of their signals helps to initiate a quick treatment to avoid worse discomforts. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or feeling of choking
- Pain or tightness in the chest
- Sharp sounds when breathing or wheezing
- Irritative cough, with few phlegm
- Difficulty sleeping due to lack of air and cough
- Changes in coloration, such as bluish lips and fingernails
- Need to use the inhaler more often
How to act in an emergency due to bronchial asthma crisis?
The first measure to act during an emergency due to bronchial asthma crisis is to remain calm. Although the situation is alarming, try to be calm so as not to worsen the symptoms. Next, the action plan must be launched.
- The doctor is likely to suggest quick relief medications such as inhalers. If so, these should be used as soon as possible.
- If the clothes are too tight, it is best to loosen them to reduce the feeling of suffocation.
- Ideally, the person should remain seated so that their respiratory muscles do not work in a forced manner.
- If after a few minutes there is no improvement, a second dose of inhaler is applied.
- A medication with cortisone should also be given if the doctor has prescribed it in advance.
What should not be done during an asthma attack?
Acting incorrectly during a bronchial asthma crisis can have serious consequences. Therefore, in addition to considering the above measures, it is good to know what actions should be avoided at the moment:
- The affected person should not be forced to lie down.
- Nor should we force her to walk.
- The use of wet cloths or creams on the affected person’s chest should be avoided.
When to go to the doctor?
A bronchial asthma crisis can be fatal when the body does not respond to treatments. Then, if the patient does not improve with the previous advice, it is necessary to go to the emergency room as soon as possible. If necessary, an ambulance should be notified.
The abuse of asthma medications can produce side effects. Therefore, if the symptoms do not improve or worsen, you should consult with the professional before increasing your doses or looking for other options.
How to prevent bronchial asthma attacks?
Exposure to some irritants and environmental particles can trigger bronchial asthma attacks. Due to that, it is convenient to adopt some preventive measures to reduce its recurrence. These comprise the following:
- Identify and avoid triggers (mold, pollution, pollen, pet hair, etc.)
- To avoid the use of tobacco
- Apply for vaccines against pneumonia and flu
- Learn exercises to control breathing
- Take the medicines according to your indications
To handle a bronchial asthma crisis correctly, it is important to design a plan of action in advance, in the hands of a doctor. Taking care of the situation calmly and having emergency medications allows you to cope with the problem before suffering other complications.