asthma attack (also called an acute asthma episode,
flare-up, or exacerbation) is a sudden increase in the symptoms of asthma,
The symptoms may be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how much
the airflow to the lungs is reduced. Attacks can be brief (about an hour) or
last for several days. They may be seasonal (similar to hay fever) or occur
during any season.
Asthma symptoms may start suddenly or up to several hours after you
or your child has been exposed to triggers, such as tobacco smoke or
animal dander. In some cases (such as with asthma that
happens during your job), symptoms may not occur until 4 to 12 hours after
contact. Although severe attacks may seem to occur suddenly, they usually occur
after several days of increasing symptoms.
Asthma attacks are caused by:
Although attacks can be serious, they can usually be treated at home.
Many people have an
asthma action plan, which is a written plan that tells
you what medicine you need to use, based on the severity of the attack, and
when you should call a doctor or seek emergency treatment. You and
your doctor create the action plan.
The best strategy for avoiding and treating asthma attacks is being
able to recognize an attack and know what to do. When creating an asthma action
plan, be sure to talk to your doctor about:
March 14, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
& Lora J. Stewart, MD - Allergy and Immunology
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