You may go for weeks or months without having a flare. But suddenly, your chest feels tight. You're coughing and wheezing a bit.
Early Warning Signs
Just before or at the very start of an attack, you may notice changes that can tip you off. They include:
- Coughing a lot, especially at night
- Trouble sleeping
- Losing your breath
- Hard to breathe after exercise
- Feeling cranky
- Lower PEF numbers, from your peak flow meter
Follow the steps in your asthma action plan. You may be able to stop the episode or keep it from getting bad.
During an Attack
When symptoms flare, it might be hard for you to do normal, everyday things. You may have:
- Short, shallow, fast breaths
- A whistling sound when you breathe, especially out
- A cough that won't go away
- Squeezed feeling in your chest
Use your rescue inhaler. Try to stay calm.
When It Gets Worse
Signs of worsening asthma include:
- Feeling panicky
- Wheezing when you breathe both in and out
- Inability to stop coughing
- Having trouble talking or walking
- Getting a tight neck and chest muscles
- Having a pale, sweaty face
Follow the "Red Zone" or emergency instructions in your asthma action plan. Call 911 or get to the hospital. You need medical attention right away.
After an Asthma Attack
You'll probably feel tired and worn out. For the next few days, you're more likely to have another flare, too. Pay attention for warning signs. Take care of yourself.
- Follow your asthma action plan closely. Make sure you take your medications.
- Use your peak flow meter.
- Avoid your triggers.