What Is an Asthma Flare-up? Know Its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Techniques

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Asthma attack or exacerbation is characterised as inflamed and swollen airways. In an asthma attack, the muscles around the airways contract and the airways produce extra mucus, causing the narrowing of the breathing tubes. During an attack, the symptoms of asthma become worse. Coughing, wheezing and difficulty in breathing are some of the most common symptoms, and they can be treated at home if the attack is minor. Sometimes, when an asthma attack doesn’t improve with home treatment, it can turn into a life-threatening emergency.

The best way to prevent an asthma attack from turning severe is by recognizing and treating the symptoms of an asthma flare-up. According to a report by Mayo Clinic, the treatment plan made by your doctor should include steps to be undertaken when you have an asthma attack.

Asthma attack Symptoms

Asthma attack has several signs and symptoms, but the most common ones are:

Low peak expiratory flow (EPF) readings in case you use a peak flow meter.
Severe shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, wheezing and coughing.
The incapability of a quick-acting inhaler to treat symptoms indicates the worsening of an attack.
There are other symptoms of asthma attacks too and each patient needs to work with their doctor on a treatment plan in order to avoid an emergency.

When To See A Doctor And Seek Emergency Medical Treatment?

The symptoms listed above might be controlled with the help of home treatment methods devised by your doctor. But if the attack keeps worsening and the symptoms are not responding positively to the treatment, then you might want to see your doctor immediately.

Emergency medical attention is needed in the following scenarios:

Severe breathlessness or wheezing, especially during early mornings or at night.
Low EPF readings that do not show subsequent improvements after home treatment.
Inability to speak due to shortness of breath.
Chest pain or tightening of chest muscles.
There might be several causes of asthma flare-ups such as pollen, pets, tobacco smoke, inhaling cold and dry air, dust mites and upper respiratory infections, to name a few.

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