Asthma is a common condition affecting the lungs which causes breathing difficulties. The symptoms include:
- Tightening of the chest
Asthma symptoms can be caused by allergic and non-allergic triggers;
- Allergic asthma triggers include; dust mites, pets and pollen
- Non-allergic asthma triggers include; irritants (i.e. smoke), cold weather, exercise, colds and flu
There is no cure for asthma but treatments such as the use of inhalers and avoiding triggers where possible, can help you to manage your condition and reduce your risk of an asthma attack.
Symptoms of an asthma attack are:
- your symptoms are getting worse (cough, breathlessness, wheezing or tight chest)
- your reliever inhaler (usually blue) isn't helping
- you're too breathless to speak, eat or sleep
- your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you can't catch your breath
- your peak flow score is lower than normal
In the event of an asthma attack, you should:
- Sit down and try to take slow, steady breaths. Try to remain calm, as panicking will make things worse.
- Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs. It's best to use your spacer if you have one.
- Call 999 for an ambulance if you don't have your inhaler with you, you feel worse despite using your inhaler, you don't feel better after taking 10 puffs, or you're worried at any point.
- If the ambulance hasn't arrived within 15 minutes, repeat step 2.
After an asthma attack, you should see your GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of leaving hospital, or within 24 hours if you didn't need hospital treatment.
For further advice on asthma, visit the Asthma UK website at: https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/