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How to Prevent an Asthma Attack

Nov 04, 2022
How to Prevent an Asthma Attack
When you have asthma, you’ll do almost anything to avoid the chest tightening and difficulty breathing that an attack causes. You can’t prevent all attacks, but here are steps you can take to minimize the chance that you will have one.

Asthma is a chronic illness that makes it hard for you to breathe. Triggers cause your airways to narrow and swell. You may also produce extra mucus. 

When you have a minor case that’s managed well, asthma may be a daily nuisance. In more serious cases, asthma limits what you can do daily. 

At the office of Saba Shabnam, MD in Grapevine, Texas, Dr. Shabnam sees patients with asthma and helps them develop treatment plans to minimize symptoms of the disease. Anyone with asthma is at risk of having a life-threatening asthma attack, though. 

Here’s what Dr. Shabnam wants you to know about asthma and how to avoid the crisis of an attack.

Symptoms of an asthma attack

Asthma causes shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the chest, and wheezing. If you feel these symptoms worsen, you may be having an asthma attack. These are signs that your breathing muscles are spasming and that your airways have narrowed due to inflammation. 

If you use a peak flow meter, you’ll have low peak expiratory flow readings. 

When you’re deep into an attack, your rescue inhaler won’t help you get relief from these symptoms. 

Causes of an asthma attack

Everyone’s asthma triggers are different, but some of the most common ones are:

  • Pollen and mold
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Inhaling cold, dry air
  • Stress

Dr. Shabnam works with you to help you learn which of these triggers affect your asthma and how to manage exposure to them. 

Heading off an asthma attack

Dr. Shabnam can help you identify what triggers (or may trigger) asthma attacks in you. 

Steps you can take to avoid aggravating your asthma and needing urgent or emergency care include:

  • Wearing a mask when painting or doing yard work
  • Staying indoors, especially for exercise, when pollen counts are high
  • Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
  • Using HEPA filters in your vacuum, air conditioner, and furnace
  • Keeping pets out of your home
  • Managing stress with breathing, meditation, and self care

Take your medications as prescribed, too. Dr. Shabnam also recommends you get your flu shot as soon as it's available every season. The flu can cause swelling and narrowing of your airways, leading to heightened asthma symptoms or a full-blown attack. 

Having a medical plan

Dr. Shabnam usually prescribes medications to help you with asthma symptoms and mild attacks. 

Patients with mild asthma do well with a rescue inhaler to give them fast relief. But, if you have more than two asthma attacks per week, you may need daily medicine that includes a maintenance inhaler or anti-inflammatory. 

These medications take a bit of time to work. When they do start working and your symptoms and frequency of attacks subside, keep taking the medication. 

If you have stress-induced asthma, you may also benefit from certain breathing exercises. Focus on breathing slowly in and out for a minute to help you get back in control. Breathing exercises are not a replacement for medical care, however. 

If you struggle with asthma, get the care you need at the office of Saba Shabnam, MD. Call today or use this website to book an appointment. We can help you manage your symptoms, minimize uncomfortable, life-threatening attacks, and live a normal life.