Don't Wait - Plan For An Asthma Attack Now!

By: Mark Walters

Learning you have asthma is bad enough, but have you thought about what to do when having an asthma attack?

Asthma usually gives you a warning when it's about effect your breathing. There are several pre-symptoms. Watch for a feeling of tightness in the chest. Unusual wheezing and coughing should get your attention. Even restlessness while trying to sleep is another early signals that an asthma attack may be on its way. If you train yourself to watch for these conditions your will find that you usually have enough time to prepare for or even prevent the asthma attack.

When you feel the attack coming don't just sit there! Swing into action. Here are some "fight back" tips:

1) You must have prepared an asthma attach action plan that you can quickly put into action anytime you feel an attack is coming.

2) An asthma attack is usually a high stress situation, but you should at least try to stay calm and put your plan into action. First of all... Make sure you take the correct medications - do not mistake prevention drug with an asthma reliever remedy. Prevention medications have little or no effect in relieving an attack... or they work much to slowly.

3) The best way to be sure you correctly identify your medications is to mark your inhalers with different colors. For example: A blue inhaler for normal prevention, and red inhaler for emergency-use relief. By making these advanced preparations there is less chance you will grab the wrong treatment at the wrong time. You will be prepared for whatever asthma throws at you.

4) Relax and slow your breathing! This is not an easy task, but with enough training you can concentrate and control your breath even during an asthma attack. Practice your breathing exercises under normal conditions, to make sure you can do them when you're tense during an attack.

What to do when having an asthma attack - relaxed breathing

As mentioned above, during an asthma attack and after taking medication you should begin your relaxation exercises. Start by sitting comfortably in a chair. Then clear you mind and concentrate on relaxing. Visualize the tension leaving your shoulders and neck.

It is important to control your breathing and not to gasp for air. Maintain your concentration and try to slow your breathing a little. A good technique is to inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.

Try using a pursed-lip breathing technique. It can help you control your breathing. Do that until any breathless feeling subsides and finally disappears. It's not uncommon to feel dizzy while doing this. Just try to rest between breaths.

What to do when having an asthma attack - when things going wrong

Now let's cover what to do when you are having an asthma attack and you can't get relief. Despite using the proper medicine and exercises your asthma attack only seems to get worse. If your effort to breathe becomes extremely labored, or if you struggle with an asthma attack for longer than usual and you just don't seem to be getting better, consider the following:

1) Call your doctor. It is wise to have the doctor's phone number written somewhere close at hand or preprogrammed into your telephone's memory. Having your doctor's phone number stored (or even programmed for fast dial) in your cellular phone is also a good idea. Make sure you can call your doctor anywhere you are. Don't worry of all this seems a bit paranoid. You should always hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

2) Your attack may be so severe that there is just not time to try and get in touch with your doctor and then travel to his or her's office. In this situation it is best to immediately head for the nearest hospital emergency room. This should be a part of your asthma attack plan. You should know the exact location of at least one emergency facility and the fastest way to get there. If you don't have a car you should have the number of a friend or taxi company ready to use.

3) Finally... be ready to call for an ambulance. They can get to you in a matter of minutes and they will be ready to give your asthma attack immediate attention. This is another situation that should be included in your plan. You should have done the research to learn if you should call the ambulance directly, or call 911 and let that emergency service arrange for the ambulance.

When you think "What to do when having an asthma attack"... you should be able to immediately turn to your plan and put it into action. Your best defense against an asthma attack is a well prepared plan.

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Mark Walters has dedicated his web site to help those suffering from asthma

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