Chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing are the common signs of an asthma attack. The severity of the symptoms may vary from mild to severe. Some patients could even go for long periods without experiencing symptoms. And patients experience different signs.
What’s most challenging about asthma is that experts are still unable to point out the specific cause and cure for this condition. Hence, it’s best to learn some asthma first aid skills. That way, you can respond to your friends’ or loved ones’ in need.
Disease awareness and knowledge of asthma triggers are the two key aspects of handling this condition. This post will walk you through these aspects.
Asthma Attack: In a Gist
Did you know that asthma affects over 350 million people around the world? Based on a report from the World Health Organisation, this respiratory condition has claimed over 400,000 lives in 2016. And most of the death reports come from lower-middle and low-income countries. It’s also common among kids.
In a nutshell, asthma is a serious respiratory disease characterised with the inflammation and narrowing of the airways. The airways could also be filled with mucus, making it difficult for the patient to breath. The inflammation could be due to a lot of reasons or triggers. Doctors have identified four levels of asthma – mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent and severe persistent.
Common Triggers of Asthma Attack
Yes, the symptoms could be managed through medication and asthma first aid. But steering clear from the following triggers is the best prevention measure you can do:
- Air Pollution – Cigarette smoke and the smell of cleaning agents, burning grass or wood, chemical fumes, and perfumes could trigger an asthma attack. Use an air filter to cultivate an excellent indoor air quality at home or the office. And plan out your outdoor activities wisely to avoid exposing yourself to outdoor air pollution.
- Pets – Pet dander and fur are also common asthma triggers. Don’t allow pets to sleep on the bed with you. Trim their hair and give them a good bath at least once every week. Vacuum and mop the floor regularly.
- Dust mites – Dust mites are common annoying residents of every home. Their droppings contain proteins that, when inhaled, trigger the release of free radicals in the lungs. These free radicals could irritate and inflame the airways and cause asthma attacks. To get rid of dust mites, wash your linens, bed covers, and mattress regularly.
- Cockroach allergen – Asthma attacks could occur when the patient inhales cockroach droppings. Use gels and roach traps to ward off roaches. And vacuum clean your home regularly to remove bread crumbs and other foodstuffs that attract cockroaches.
- Mould – Inhaling mould spores could also trigger asthma attack and hay fever. Moulds grow in a humid area. To lower your home’s humidity level, use a dehumidifier and fix leaking water fixture.
- Food allergies – Asthma could also occur along with allergic reactions to some foods. Specifically, foods that usually trigger allergic symptoms are eggs, cow’s milk, peanuts, wheat, shrimps, seafood, tree nuts, and soy. Food preservatives (e.g., sodium sulphite, potassium bisulphite) may also cause asthma attack symptoms.
- Exercise – 80% of asthmatic people experience exercise-induced asthma after an intensive workout. Up to 50% of people who’re having an exercise-induced asthma attack may also experience another episode after 6 to 10 hours.
- Medication – People with aspirin-sensitivity asthma might have trouble taking anti-inflammatory meds, such as naproxen and ibuprofen. Before taking any meds or supplements, visit the doctor and let him or her know about your medical history, especially your asthma attacks.
- Respiratory infections – Cold, sinusitis, flu, and bronchitis could take a toll on your lungs and airways. Make sure to keep your indoor temperature at a comfortable level, especially if you’re living in an area with extreme weather conditions.
- Strong emotions – Anger, fear, anxiety, too much crying, and excessive laughter could cause hyperventilation, which could lead to asthma symptoms.
Seeing a loved one or friend struggling and almost out of breath due to an asthma attack is a traumatic sight. Knowing that there’s a ton of triggers, better be prepared to save your pals or relatives. Equip yourself with asthma first aid skills and know the triggers by heart to respond accordingly.