Asthma is a health condition that affects the lungs; the bronchial tubes, the airways that lead from our nose and mouth to our lungs, become inflamed, narrow, and produce extra mucus, making it difficult to breathe. In most cases, asthma is manageable as long as patients are taking their medications as prescribed, but severe asthma flare-ups can be highly dangerous. 

If you or a loved one has asthma, it’s crucial to understand severe asthma attacks and when to visit the emergency room. Continue reading to learn more. 

When to Go to the ER

The following are some common asthma symptoms that can act as early indications of a flare-up: 

  • Frequent wheezing 
  • Persistent coughing
  • Pain and tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing or talking
  • Shortness of breath easily after activities
  • Inability to stand or sit still
  • Unusual fatigue
woman using asthma inhaler

Additional warning symptoms of a severe asthma attack include: 

  • Asthma medication failing to improve flare-ups
  • Symptoms returning quickly after taking medication
  • Face, lips, or fingernails turning blue or gray
  • Rapid breathing or extreme shortness of breath 
  • The inability to talk in full sentences
  • Feeling confusion or agitation

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, do not hesitate to head to the nearest emergency room for treatment. 

Tips to Manage Asthma

The first step to avoiding a trip to the emergency room in the event of a flare-up is to take control in managing asthma. These steps include making plans with your doctor and taking long-term control medications as prescribed

Patients will also need to do their best to avoid asthma triggers—which can include tobacco smoke, animals, dust mites, dust, mold, pollen, perfumes, and respiratory infections. Other triggers like weather changes, cold air, and exercise may be unavoidable, but your doctor can work with you to create or adjust management plans. 

A fast-acting medication, like a rescue inhaler, should always be nearby, as they provide quick relief to an asthma flare-up. 

Peak flow meters are also a highly effective tool that may help patients and their loved ones. Asthma patients blow into the meter to take readings on the diameter of their airways. The best part is that peak flow meters are portable, don’t need an electrical plug, and don’t require the assistance of a doctor or nurse. This means you can keep one at home to help keep asthma under control

Flare-ups can happen even if asthma patients do their best to manage their condition. Patients are encouraged to come up with an asthma action plan that includes daily treatment, outlines symptoms, and covers what to do when the patient has a flare-up. The plan should be shared with family and friends that can be trusted allies in helping manage asthma.  

emergency asthma care

Take the Road to Village Emergency Center

For severe asthma attacks that require an emergency room, you can always rely on your closest Village. To learn more about our services and to find your Village, visit our website today!