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What should you do if you have a severe asthma attack?

ANSWER

If you use your quick-acting asthma medicine and it doesn’t help, call 911. Don’t drive yourself to the emergency room.

If you have a steroid medicine at home (such as prednisone), you can take it on your way to the ER.

It’s important to manage your asthma as your doctor recommends -- taking your medicines and avoiding your triggers. This may help prevent severe asthma attacks.

SOURCES:

Smolley, L. and Bruce, D. New York, Random House, 1998. Breathe Right Now,

American Family Physician , 2003.

American Academy of Family Physicians: "The Crashing Asthmatic."

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Expert Panel report 2: guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma."

National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "NIH publication no. 97-4051."

Circulation : "Guidelines 2000 for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Part 8: advanced challenges in resuscitation: section 3: special challenges in ECC. The American Heart Association in collaboration with the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation."

UptoDate: “Patient Education: Asthma treatment in adolescents and adults (Beyond the Basics).”

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Asthma?”

CDC: "Asthma Action Plan.”

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy on December 20, 2017

SOURCES:

Smolley, L. and Bruce, D. New York, Random House, 1998. Breathe Right Now,

American Family Physician , 2003.

American Academy of Family Physicians: "The Crashing Asthmatic."

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Expert Panel report 2: guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma."

National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "NIH publication no. 97-4051."

Circulation : "Guidelines 2000 for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Part 8: advanced challenges in resuscitation: section 3: special challenges in ECC. The American Heart Association in collaboration with the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation."

UptoDate: “Patient Education: Asthma treatment in adolescents and adults (Beyond the Basics).”

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Asthma?”

CDC: "Asthma Action Plan.”

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy on December 20, 2017

NEXT QUESTION:

What are the common asthma triggers?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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