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What are early warning signs of an asthma attack?

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Just before or at the very start of an asthma attack, you may notice changes that can tip you off. They include:

Follow the steps in your asthma action plan. You may be able to stop the episode or keep it from getting bad.

  • 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

SOURCES: UptoDate Patient Information: "Trigger avoidance in asthma" and "Pathogenesis and management of status asthmaticus in adults." American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Tips to Remember: asthma triggers and management" and "Allergic Conditions: Exercise-Induced Asthma (EIA)." Merck Manual Home Edition: "Asthma."


Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on May 23, 2019

SOURCES: UptoDate Patient Information: "Trigger avoidance in asthma" and "Pathogenesis and management of status asthmaticus in adults." American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Tips to Remember: asthma triggers and management" and "Allergic Conditions: Exercise-Induced Asthma (EIA)." Merck Manual Home Edition: "Asthma."


Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on May 23, 2019

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What are signs of an asthma attack?

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