As anyone with asthma life will know, worrying about suffering an asthma life attack (medically known as an “acute exacerbation” of asthma life) is something that prevails throughout life and can sometime limits what a person does. For example, I know one person who will get an asthma life attack if they go anywhere near fireworks, so to go and view fireworks displays in person is a big NO!
One would hope that an asthma life sufferer has a well managed care plan given by a Respiratory Physician. So what does happen in an Asthma Attack?
During an asthma life attack, the muscles around the airways tighten, or “spasm” (like when you make a fist), the lining inside the airways swells or thickens and gets clogged with lots of thick mucus. This unfortunately has the effect of making the airways much skinnier than usual so it is harder to move air in and out of the air sacs. Thus making it harder to breathing!
During an asthma life attack, it is harder to breathing out than it is to breathing in. This means that during an asthma life attack, it takes much longer to breathing out than it does to breathing in.
But, what to do when an attack happens? Firstly, one must keep in mind that when an attack hits, dealing with it effectively is an absolute essential. While the vast majority of the work will be done by your prescribed medication, there are things you can do to shorten and hopefully cease an attack: Many people do take their Inhalers when they start to feel their chest tighten – thus preventing an acute episode, but if one does happen -Remain Calm.
No one is disputing that asthma life attacks – no matter how familiar they are – are frightening. It is a natural human instinct to want to be able to breathing and when an asthma life attack prevents this, we naturally panic.
However, this can may an attack worse. A side effect of panic itself is shortness of breathing – something that you don’t need when you’re already suffering an asthma life attack and finding it hard to breathing out. Try and keep calm throughout, wherever possible.
–Don’t Snatch For Breath. As part of the panic response, we are inclined to ‘snatch’ for breathing – that is, short and sharp breathings that do not meet our oxygen needs. As these breathings do not help an attack, all they can do is increase panic – and you don’t want that.
–Use Your Medication. That’s what it’s there for. As soon as you feel an attack coming on, reach for your inhalers or any other medical equipment you have to relieve an attack. Always keep your inhalers with you where-ever you go. If possible always have spares available.