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My asthma is worse than usual

What you should do and how to prevent an attack

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Asthma is a chronic condition which affects the lungs; causing irritation to the airways and resulting in breathing problems. People with asthma usually experience wheezing, breathlessness, coughing or a tight feeling in the chest. The symptoms can be mild and unobtrusive, or severe, having an impact on your day to day life. No two people are the same, and it affects everyone in different ways. 

 

What should I do when asthma gets worse?

If your asthma is worse than usual, you should make an appointment with your doctor right away. This worsening is a sign that your condition is not well controlled. If you have a preventer inhaler, which is usually brown, ensure you are using it as prescribed twice a day. You should also keep your blue reliever inhaler with you at all times in case you need it. 

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How do asthma attacks happen? 

An asthma attack is caused by the tightening of the muscles which surround the airways. Known as bronchospasm, the airways also become inflamed and produce more mucus than usual. When this happens, your asthma symptoms escalate. An asthma attack is characterised by: 

  • Being too breathless to speak, eat or sleep
  • Your inhaler isn’t helping
  • Severe wheezing
  • Feeling like you can’t catch your breath
  • Worsening of symptoms 

An asthma attack is an emergency. You should always call 999 for an ambulance if you think you are having one. 

 

How can asthma be prevented? 

Asthma cannot be prevented, but with the right care, you can keep it under control and live your daily life as usual. Steps you can take include: 

  • Quitting smoking- this is a major trigger for asthma as smoking irritates the lungs and airways, making symptoms worse and more frequent 
  • Use your inhaler properly- not using your asthma inhaler properly is a common factor in uncontrolled asthma as you are not getting the full benefit of the medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you are unsure 
  • Use your preventer inhaler- if you have been prescribed a steroid inhaler, known as a preventer inhaler, for daily use then ensure you use it twice a day as directed. This will prevent symptoms from occurring, meaning you will need your blue inhaler less often
  • Get the flu jab- the flu jab is available to people with asthma every year. This will prevent you from getting the flu, which can make asthma a lot worse. It’s important to get this each year as the vaccinations are designed in order to avoid current strains of the flu virus 
  • Identify your asthma triggers- figuring out what triggers your asthma can go a long way towards managing your symptoms. While it’s not always possible to completely avoid triggers, you can take steps to minimise your exposure to them

Speak to one of our doctors today to order reliever, preventer or combination inhalers without needing to wait for a doctor’s appointment. 

 

Sources

Web MD> Asthma Attack https://www.webmd.com/asthma/asthma-attack#1

NHS> Living With Asthma https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/living-with/

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