How to Prevent an Asthma Attack

During an asthma attack, your airways become inflamed and narrowed. You begin to wheeze, you may cough and feel like you just can’t take in enough air. It’s a very unpleasant feeling! 

Dr. Michael Newton and his staff understand the discomfort and fear that asthma attacks cause. We want to help you prevent an attack if you can, and help you know what to do if an attack is unavoidable. In this post we offer a few tips on how you may be able to prevent your next asthma attack. 

Know your triggers

A trigger is a substance that causes an asthma attack, and not everyone has the same triggers. It can be difficult to identify your triggers, because it’s very likely you have more than one, and sometimes triggers are things that you’re not aware of, like dust mites or outdoor air pollution. 

There are a few ways you can begin to understand your specific triggers. You can keep a journal of your activities and how you’re breathing, and record your peak flow meter results at various times throughout the day. 

A peak flow meter is a simple device that helps you know how well air is moving through your lungs. It can help you know that an asthma attack is coming, hours or even days before it happens. Using it can also help you detect patterns in your breathing. 

If you have allergies, it’s very likely that the things you’re allergic to are asthma triggers. It’s also possible that respiratory illness, or rhinitis triggers your asthma. Some people have exercise-induced asthma. 

Once you know what your triggers are, you may be able to avoid them. For example, avoiding tobacco smoke is usually possible. If pet dander is a problem for you, keep pets out of your bedroom, making sure they are bathed regularly, and using an air cleaner may help. 

Make a plan

For those triggers that are unavoidable, you need to have an asthma attack plan. Having a written plan to follow helps when you’re in the middle of an attack. Because asthma attacks are really scary, you can’t always think clearly — and that’s when your plan becomes important. Dr. Newton can help you create a plan, based on your triggers and your medical history. 

Take your medications as prescribed

If you become good at avoiding your triggers, you might be tempted to stop taking your medication. However, doing so could make attacks far more likely. Some medications work to keep the inflammation of your airways under control over time. 

You may also need fast-acting medications in case you do have an attack. You should keep an inhaler with you at all times if you have asthma, and it should be part of your plan. 

Get regular checkups

It’s important to get regular checkups if you have asthma, because your condition can change over time. You could develop new triggers, or become more sensitive to the ones you’ve identified. If your condition improves, you may need to get new prescriptions for inhalers if yours expire. 

If you have asthma, or you suspect you might, schedule an appointment with Dr. Newton. He can assess your breathing, and help you understand the next steps in your treatment. 

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