Asthma out of control

6 Signs Your Asthma Is Worsening

If you have asthma, you know an attack can come on suddenly, literally taking your breath away. But asthma, a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, can also gradually exacerbate over time — even if you’re avoiding triggers, following your treatment plan, and doing everything you’re supposed to do.

“A number of factors can worsen asthma, including prolonged exposure to dust, pollen, mold, pollution, and other irritants in the air,” says Sharon R. Rosenberg, MD, co-director of the asthma and COPD program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

But for some people, asthma gradually worsens without any exposure to triggers. Symptoms get worse as inflammation builds over time, explains Guha Krishnaswamy, MD, director of allergy and clinical immunology at Wake Forest Baptist. “The mucus membranes become more swollen, smooth muscle becomes a little twitchier, and the airways produce thick mucus,” he says. These changes lead to worsening asthma symptoms.

Anyone who has asthma needs to be on the lookout for signs that the condition is getting worse. The reason is simple: Uncontrolled asthma can be a severe, life-threatening disease.

Signs of Worsening Asthma

Here are six signs your asthma may be getting worse:

1. Increased difficulty breathing.

“You may notice more shortness of breath during normal activities,” Dr. Krishnaswamy says. For example, if you used to be able to carry a grocery bag from your car to your kitchen with ease and now you are huffing and puffing, that could be a sign of worsening asthma.

2. A drop in peak flow meter readings.

“For people with asthma, a peak flow meter is like a blood pressure cuff for people with high blood pressure — it gives you an objective measurement of your condition,” Krishnaswamy says. Chronically lower peak flow meter readings can indicate that your asthma is getting worse.

3. Exercise limitations.

If you’re lacking the motivation you used to have for working out, or you’re experiencing decreased stamina or trouble breathing during exercise, your asthma may be getting worse.

4. Using a quick-relief inhaler more often.

“I saw this happen with my own mother,” Krishnaswamy says. “She was breathless and needing to use her rescue inhaler more and more frequently.” If you need to use quick-relief medicine more than twice a week, your asthma isn’t under control, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

5. Waking up at night with coughing or wheezing.

“Attacks at nighttime that wake you up at 2 in the morning with coughing and wheezing and reaching for your rescue inhaler are a sign your asthma is poorly controlled or getting worse,” Krishnaswamy says.

6. Having to disrupt your normal routine because of asthma.

During times of high stress, you might experience a flare that causes you to miss school or work. “Maybe you’re having a stressful morning — your child is sick — and your asthma worsens, then it quickly reverses once the stress has passed,” Krishnaswamy says. But if your asthma symptoms are keeping you home from work or school on a regular basis, the condition is likely getting worse.

What to Do If Your Asthma Is Getting Worse

If you experience any of these symptoms of worsening asthma, call your doctor so he or she can make changes to your asthma management plan. “Your physician will make sure you are on an appropriate asthma management regimen and give you the right rescue medications to use when your symptoms get worse,” Dr. Rosenberg says. He or she may also change your medication types, dosages, or frequencies, as needed.

In addition, everyone with asthma should have an action plan for controlling flares and exacerbations, she says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers sample asthma action plans online.

Remember, if you have chronic asthma, it’s important to stick to your treatment regimen, no matter how good you feel. “Too often, people will ease up on their controller medications and use their rescue inhaler instead,” Krishnaswamy says. “But if you have persistent asthma, you need persistent therapy.”

You asked: Why is my asthma worse at night?

Suddenly, your chest tightens, and your breathing starts to resemble wheezing. Asthma attacks can be a startling experience, especially if they happen while you are asleep or nearly asleep. Genny Carrillo, MD, ScD, associate professor at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, director of the Program on Asthma Research and Education, discusses how nighttime asthma attacks can be avoided.

What is an asthma attack?

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, asthma attacks occur when an inflammation or obstruction of the bronchial tubes exists. Since these tubes allow air to enter and leave the lungs, asthma happens when air movement in and out of the lungs is restricted.

Asthma attacks are most commonly recognized by severe wheezing, consistent coughing and rapid breathing. However, people experiencing asthma attacks may also notice tightness in their chest and neck. If not enough oxygen reaches their lungs, then they may turn pale and their lips and fingernails could turn blue.

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person, but you can control them with a proper prevention routine. “If your asthma is under control, then the likelihood of you experiencing an asthma attack decreases,” Carrillo said.

What triggers an asthma attack?

People with asthma have different triggers. Some people are triggered due to exposure of allergens like dust mites or grass. Other people can be triggered by irritants in the air like chemicals or strong odors. Carrillo notes that respiratory illnesses with mucus drainage like sinus infections or colds increase the likelihood of an asthma attack. Exercise and changes in the weather also trigger attacks as well. Some people may find that more than one thing increases their chances of having an attack, and any type of asthma can get worse at night.

The importance of medication adherence

“One of the most important things to prevent asthma attacks is medication adherence,” said Carrillo. “Often, people find their medication reduces the occurrence of their symptoms, so they think they do not need their medication anymore.” This is not true, because asthma has no cure—the prescribed medication only controls your asthma symptoms.

Health care providers usually prescribe two key medications: a long-term control inhaler and a rescue inhaler. Since asthma triggers are highly specific to the individual, people should speak with their health care provider to find an asthma care plan that works for them. Many health care providers prescribe both types of inhalers.

The first medication is a long-term asthma control inhaler like a corticosteroid. People with asthma should regularly take this medication to control their chronic symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. If people stop their medication, then their risk of an asthma attacks increases.

The second medication is a rescue inhaler. This inhaler will provide a quick relief of symptoms during an asthma attack. The medication relaxes the airway muscles, which opens the lungs and allows unconstructed airflow.

If you or your child wakes up with an asthma attack, do not panic. You should simply begin administering the rescue medication. If for whatever reason, you do not have a rescue inhaler, then call emergency services. Also, people with asthma and parents of those with asthma should keep in mind that only the rescue inhaler can stop an asthma attack. The two types of medications are not interchangeable. If the attack does not subside after a couple uses of the rescue inhaler, then call emergency services for further help.

Other ways to prevent asthma attacks at night

“If a person’s asthma is under control, then it would be rare for them to have a nocturnal asthma attack,” said Carrillo. “However, everybody has their own asthma triggers, so it is important to be mindful of your triggers, even when sleeping.”She recommends four steps you can take to create an asthma-friendly sleep:

  • Avoid sleeping near strong odors like perfumes or bed linen sprays
  • Use pillow covers to prevent dust mites
  • Wash your bed linens in hot water on a regular basis
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom, especially if you are sensitive to their dander
  • Get your flu shot and stay ahead of any respiratory illnesses

When to seek help about your asthma symptoms

Asthma attacks can happen any time and in any place. If you are experiencing asthma symptoms multiple times per week, then see your health care provider to discuss adjustments to your asthma care plan.

For people that do not have health insurance, Carrillo recommends looking for medication assistance programs in your area. “It is important for people with asthma to have access to the proper medication,” said Carrillo. “In south Texas, we have the Medication Assistance Program through Healthy South Texas. These types of programs do exist, and they are ready to help.”

— Mary Leigh Meyer

Breathing is just one of those things you take for granted until it feels like every inhale or exhale is a struggle. Unfortunately, people with severe asthma have to deal with breathing issues way more often than anyone should, and it can be completely terrifying.

Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects the airways that extend from your nose and mouth to your lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). When you’re exposed to triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, exercise, and respiratory infections, these airways can narrow, restricting your airflow. This can then make the muscles surrounding your airways constrict, making it even harder to breathe, and cause your airways to produce more mucus than normal, further compounding the problem. All together, this can lead to asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), and chest tightness or pain, according to the NHLBI.

Like most health conditions, asthma severity runs along a spectrum, Emily Pennington, M.D., a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. Some people have cases where they experience minor symptoms here and there (maybe even so mildly that they don’t realize they have asthma). Others can have asthma that is basically an ever-present problem and might result in scary asthma attacks, which is when symptoms ramp up in severity and can even become life-threatening.

The most important part of preventing severe asthma attacks is knowing you have the condition in the first place. Here are the top signs you have severe asthma, plus which kinds of treatment may help.

1. Difficulty breathing jolts you out of sleep at night.

If your asthma symptoms don’t only affect you most days, but also rear their head more than one night a week, you may have what experts call “severe persistent” asthma. This is the most serious classification of this condition, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Doctors don’t know exactly why asthma can flare up at night, but they think it may be due to hormonal changes your body goes through while you sleep, Dr. Pennington says. During the wee hours of the night, your body can release higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol which may cause more inflammation, including in your airways, she explains. Voila, nighttime asthma flares.

2. You’re short of breath even when you’re not exerting a lot of energy.

Obviously you’re going to be winded when you do something strenuous, like run a 5K. However, you should pay close attention if you’re getting out of breath when you do everyday stuff like walk around your house.

While people who have less intense cases of asthma may experience this here and there when they have asthma attacks, people with severe asthma may have airways that are pretty much constantly inflamed, Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., tells SELF. This can restrict your airflow to the point where you have trouble breathing even when you’re not pushing yourself physically.

3. Sometimes it’s hard to speak in complete sentences, seemingly out of the blue.

Asthma doesn’t just keep you from getting air in; it can also cause issues getting air out. “People can’t get enough air in to be able to expel air at a slow enough rate to speak a sentence before they need to take another breath,” Dr. Casciari says.

This is especially likely to happen during an asthma attack, when airways narrow even more than usual, Sadia Benzaquen, M.D., a pulmonologist and associate professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, tells SELF. Unfortunately, people with severe asthma are more likely to have these flare-ups that can make speaking way too difficult.

4. You feel breathless even when you sit or lie down.

If you’re huffing and puffing, your instinct may be to sit or lie down to try to breathe more easily. “Theoretically, sitting or lying reduces your energy expenditure and therefore reduces the need for oxygen,” Dr. Casciari says. For many people, this makes it easier for your lungs to get enough air to breathe comfortably. But severe asthma doesn’t really work that way, so sitting or lying down won’t suddenly make it way easier to breathe if you’re still exposed to a trigger or haven’t started treating your symptoms, Dr. Pennington says.

5. Your chest constantly feels like it’s stuck in a vise.

Chest tightness is often part and parcel of having asthma, but people with a severe form of the condition can feel like their chest is constantly under pressure. This is due to how the muscles surrounding your airways react to irritants, allergens, and other things that can activate your asthma. When you’re exposed to these triggers, muscles clamp down and narrow your airways, making your chest feel tight, Dr. Pennington says. If your airways and their surrounding muscles are constantly overreacting to asthma triggers, it might feel like your chest rarely (if ever) gets a break.

6. You’re agitated, confused, or sleepy and aren’t sure why.

When you exhale, you’re getting rid of carbon dioxide, which is a waste byproduct you create by breathing. If you have a bad case of severe asthma, it can limit your carbon dioxide output to such an extent that too much remains in your system, making you suddenly feel confused, agitated, or tired, Richard H. Huynh, M.D., a pulmonologist with Torrance Memorial Medical Center, tells SELF.

Asthma Symptoms

What are the symptoms of asthma?

People with asthma have symptoms when the airways are narrowed (bronchospasm), swollen (inflamed), or filled with mucus. Common symptoms of asthma include:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness, pain, or pressure

Not every person with asthma has the same symptoms in the same way. You might not have all of these symptoms, or you might have different symptoms at different times. The symptoms might also vary from one asthma episode to the next, being mild during one and severe during another.

Some people with asthma might have extended symptom-free periods, interrupted by periodic asthma episodes, while others have some symptoms every day. In addition, some people with asthma might only have symptoms during exercise, or when they are exposed to allergens or viral respiratory tract infections.

Mild asthma episodes are generally more common. Usually with treatment, the airways open up within a short time period. Severe episodes are less common, but last longer and require immediate medical help. It is important to recognize and treat even mild symptoms to help prevent severe episodes and keep asthma in better control.

What are the early warning signs of asthma?

Early warning signs are changes that happen just before or at the very beginning of an asthma episode. These changes start before the well-known symptoms of asthma and are the earliest signs that a person’s asthma may be worsening.

In general, these signs are not severe enough to stop a person from going about his or her daily activities. By recognizing these signs, you can stop an asthma episode or prevent one from getting worse. Early warning signs include:

  • Frequent cough, especially at night
  • Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
  • Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
  • Wheezing or coughing during or after exercise
  • Decreases or changes in a peak expiratory flow
  • Signs of a cold, upper respiratory infection, or allergies (sneezing, runny nose, cough, congestion, sore throat, and headache)
  • Trouble sleeping

If you have early warning signs or symptoms, you should follow the steps listed in your Asthma Action Plan. If you do not have one, you should notify your provider.

What are the symptoms of worsening asthma?

If early warning signs and symptoms are not recognized and treated, the asthma episode can progress and symptoms might worsen. As symptoms worsen, you might have more difficulty performing daily activities and sleeping. Symptoms of worsening asthma include:

  • A cough that won’t go away (day and night)
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Poor response to quick relief, inhaled medicines (bronchodilators)

What are the late, severe symptoms of asthma?

When asthma symptoms become severe, you will be unable to perform regular activities. If you have late, severe symptoms, follow the “Red Zone” or emergency instructions in the Asthma Action Plan immediately. These symptoms occur in life-threatening asthma episodes. You need medical help right away.

Late, severe symptoms include:

  • Severe wheezing (both when breathing in and out)
  • Coughing that won’t stop
  • Very rapid breathing
  • Inability to catch your breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Difficulty talking
  • Inability to fully exhale
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Pale, sweaty face
  • Blue lips or fingernails

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Don’t Tough It Out: Why Severe Asthma Needs Extra Care

What is severe asthma?

Asthma is a disease that narrows your airways, making it hard to breath air out. This leads to air being trapped, increasing pressure inside your lungs. As a result, it becomes harder to breathe in.

Asthma can cause symptoms that include:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing — a whistling sound when you breathe
  • fast breathing
  • coughing

Everyone’s asthma is different. Some people have only mild symptoms. Others have more frequent attacks that are intense enough to land them in the hospital.

Treatments for asthma prevent attacks and treat them when they start. Yet about 5 to 10 percent of people with asthma won’t find relief, even when they take high doses of medication. Asthma that is uncontrollable on medication is considered severe.

Severe asthma is treatable, but it requires therapies and support that are different from those for mild or moderate asthma. It’s important to get treated, because severe asthma can lead to complications if you don’t address it.

Read on to learn when to see your doctor and find out what treatments are available for severe asthma.

What causes severe asthma?

If you’ve been taking your asthma medicine just like your doctor prescribed and you still have frequent attacks, you may have severe asthma. There are a few reasons why standard asthma treatments might not be enough to control your symptoms.

  • Your airways are so inflamed that current drugs aren’t strong enough to bring down the swelling.
  • The chemicals that trigger inflammation in your lungs don’t respond to any of the drugs you take.
  • A type of white blood cell called an eosinophil triggers your asthma. Many asthma medications don’t target eosinophilic asthma.

The severity of your asthma can change over time. You might start out with mild or moderate asthma, but it can eventually get worse.

When to get medical attention

You and your doctor should have an asthma action plan. This plan explains how to treat your asthma and what steps to follow when your symptoms flare up. Follow this plan whenever you have asthma attacks.

If your symptoms don’t improve with treatment or you’re having more frequent attacks, call your doctor.

Get immediate medical help if:

  • you can’t catch your breath
  • you’re too breathless to talk
  • your wheezing, coughing, and other symptoms are getting worse
  • you have low readings on your peak flow monitor
  • your symptoms don’t improve after using your rescue inhaler

Complications of severe asthma

Frequent, severe asthma attacks can change the structure of your lungs. This process is called airway remodeling. Your airways become thicker and narrower, making it harder to breathe even when you’re not having an asthma attack. Airway remodeling can also cause you to have more frequent asthma attacks.

Living with severe asthma for many years can also increase your risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This condition includes a cluster of lung conditions like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. People with COPD cough a lot, produce too much mucus, and have trouble breathing.

How to treat severe asthma

The main treatment for asthma is a daily long-term control medication like an inhaled corticosteroid, plus quick-relief (“rescue”) medicines like short-acting beta-agonists to stop asthma attacks when they happen. Your doctor will increase the dose as much as needed to control your symptoms. If your asthma still isn’t controlled with high doses of these medicines, the next step is to add another drug or therapy.

Biologic drugs are a newer type of asthma medicine that targets the cause of your symptoms. They work by blocking the activity of immune system chemicals that make your airways swell up. Taking a biologic can prevent you from getting asthma attacks and make the attacks you do have much milder.

Four biologic drugs are approved to treat severe asthma:

  • reslizumab (Cinqair)
  • mepolizumab (Nucala)
  • omalizumab (Xolair)
  • benralizumab (Fasenra)

Your doctor might also recommend one of these other add-on treatments for severe asthma:

  • Tiotropium (Spiriva) is used to treat COPD and help control asthma.
  • Leukotriene modifiers, like montelukast (Singulair) and zafirlukast (Accolate), block a chemical that narrows your airways during an asthma attack.
  • Steroid pills bring down inflammation in your airways.
  • Bronchial thermoplasty is a surgical procedure that opens up your airways.

Work with your doctor to find the right combination of medicines to manage your symptoms. You may go through periods when your asthma gets worse and periods when it improves. Stick with your treatment, and let your doctor know right away if it isn’t working so you can try something else.

Jan. 6, 2012 — All asthma is not the same. As a result, a new study shows many people with asthma are not helped by corticosteroid medication prescribed to control their breathing problems.

The government-funded study is one of the largest to delve into the biology of asthma.

Researchers collected data on nearly 1,000 people with asthma who were enrolled in nine clinical trials sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Most of the studies followed patients over time and collected samples of mucus from the lower part of the lungs.

Researchers checked the samples for certain kinds of white blood cells, called eosinophils, that cause airway inflammation. Many asthma medications work by reducing inflammation.

Surprisingly, researchers found that nearly half (47%) of asthma sufferers did not have eosinophils in their mucus, indicating that something else was causing asthma in these patients.

They also found that people with this so-called non-eosinophilic asthma did not respond well to treatment with oral and inhaled corticosteroids, like prednisone, Aerobid, Azmacort, Flovent, and Symbicort, which fight inflammation.

“The currently used anti-inflammatories didn’t seem to be that effective, at least over a two-week period, in a subgroup of patients who had non-eosinophilic disease,” says researcher John V. Fahy, MD, a professor of medicine and director of the Airway Clinical Research Center at the University of California at San Francisco.

Patients with non-eosinophilic asthma also did respond to the drug albuterol. Albuterol works by relaxing the muscles around the airways, which helps them open up so the person can breathe easier. It’s usually prescribed as a rescue medication.

The study is published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Asthma

Exercise can be a trigger for people when their asthma in not under good control. People with asthma should not avoid exercising. As long as your asthma is under control, exercising is recommended to keep your lungs and body in good shape.

Exercise helps you:

  • strengthen your breathing muscles
  • boost your immune system
  • keep a healthy body weight

All of these benefits can improve your asthma in the long run. The key to exercise – make sure your asthma is under control before you start.
If you have asthma that’s triggered by exercise, you should follow your asthma action plan.

How to exercise with asthma:​

1. Keep your blue rescue inhaler on you at all times.
2. Check that your asthma is under control. If it’s not under control, exercise could be dangerous.
3. Take your medications as directed. If you’re having trouble breathing, you should take your rescue medicine (blue inhaler, for example, Ventolin). Your doctor may also ask you to take your blue rescue inhaler or another bronchodilator fifteen minutes before you exercise.
4. Warm up and cool down properly

  • Before exercising, warm up slowly by walking, stretching, and doing other low-level activities.
  • After you’ve finished exercising, cool down slowly for at least 10 minutes. Don’t stop exercising all of a sudden. If you’ve been running, taper the run to a walking pace. If you’ve been swimming, finish your swim with a slow paddle. Give your body time to adjust.

5. Protect yourself from other asthma triggers while you’re exercising (cold air, smog, pollen, etc.)

  • Pay attention to the air quality and temperature in the place you’re planning to exercise. Use your good judgement. You may have to move your exercise to a place with better air quality.
  • If you are planning a run outside on a hot, humid, smoggy day, your asthma is likely to be made worse by the air and by exercise. Try running indoors, in an air-conditioned gym, instead.
  • If you are running on a grass field but are allergic to grass, your asthma may get worse. Try running in the woods or on a paved trail.
  • If cold air is a trigger, try breathing through your nose or through a scarf, to warm the air up before it gets to your lungs. If your asthma symptoms are bad, wait until the temperature warms up.

6. If you have symptoms, stop exercising and take your blue rescue inhaler

  • Sit up. Wait a few minutes to see if your symptoms improve.
  • If your symptoms improve a lot, warm up again and slowly go back to exercising.
  • If your symptoms don’t improve, take another dose of your blue rescue inhaler. Wait a few minutes to see if your symptoms improve.

7. If your symptoms still don’t improve, follow these instructions:

What to do in an asthma attack

  • STOP any activity
  • Take your blue rescue inhaler
  • Sit up
  • If the medicine is not working, call 911
  • If symptoms are not getting better, keep taking your blue rescue inhaler until the ambulance arrives

How does exercise trigger asthma symptoms?

Doctors think they know why some people’s asthma is made worse by exercise (also called exercise-induced bronchospasm or EIB).
Normally, people breathe through their nose. Your nose acts as an air filter. It controls the temperature and humidity of the air before it reaches your lungs.
When you exercise, your body wants more air. Your breathing speeds up to get more air. You start breathing through your mouth, so you can gulp down more air. But air that comes through your mouth has not been filtered, warmed, or humidified by your nose. This means the air that gets to your airways is cooler and drier than usual.
If you have asthma, your extra-sensitive airways don’t like cool dry air. Your airways react: the muscles around the airways twitch and squeeze tighter. Tighter airways mean there is less space for the air to pass through. This makes you wheeze, cough, and feel short of breath.

Obvious symptoms of asthma from exercise

  • wheezing
  • feeling short of breath
  • chest feels tight
  • coughing

Harder-to-notice Symptoms of asthma from exercise

Some people, especially kids, may have asthma symptoms that are harder to notice:

  • chest congestion
  • chest discomfort or pain
  • sensitive to cold air (you always cough after coming in from playing outside)
  • feel out of shape or winded
  • get tired easily
  • low energy
  • can’t keep up with friends when running and playing
  • dizziness
  • stomach-ache
  • frequent colds
  • frequent throat clearing sounds

Many things can change how your lungs react to exercise. They are:

  • your level of asthma control
  • the temperature and air quality in the place you’re exercising
  • the type of exercise you’re doing, how intense it is, and how long you’re exercising for

Your level of asthma control

If your asthma is well controlled, your airways will be less sensitive to exercise. You’ll find exercise is less of a trigger for you.
If you find exercise makes your breathing a lot worse, it could be a sign that your asthma is not controlled. Tell your doctor about your symptoms and ask how to get your asthma under control.
If your asthma is usually well-controlled, but you’ve got a cold, flu, or other respiratory infection, you could be more likely to get symptoms while exercising. If you’ve been sick, pay careful attention to your symptoms. It may be a good idea to exercise less while you’re getting over your chest infection.

The temperature and air quality in the place you’re exercising

Exercise is one trigger of asthma. If you combine the trigger of exercise with these other triggers from the environment around you, you’re more likely to get asthma symptoms:

  • cold air
  • low humidity; therefore exercising in cold, dry air outside during the winter can be hazardous
  • pollution in the air (outdoors, it could be smog, dust, or other pollution; indoors, it could be exhaust from a Zamboni, smoke, etc.)
  • inhaled allergens: grass, pollen, ragweed, etc.
  • irritants such as strong fumes from art supplies, cosmetics and smoke
  • car and truck exhaust and pollutants from factories, especially sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone
  • respiratory infections – a recent cold may cause a person to have more difficulty than normal with exercise
  • fatigue
  • emotional stress

Type of exercise, how long it lasts, how hard you’re working

You may find some kinds exercise are harder on your breathing than others. If your asthma is well controlled, you should be able to do every kind of exercise and sport. The one exception is Scuba diving, which is not recommended for people with asthma because it can be dangerous for them.
If you find a certain exercise harder to do, you can:
Make sure you to a proper warm-up and cool-down.
Take it at a slower pace- if other run eight laps during a practice, you can try running five laps.

Exercise-induced anaphylaxis

This is a rare but frightening and potentially fatal physical allergy. Food ingestion before vigorous activity has been associated with exercise-induced anaphylaxis; exercise-induced anaphylaxis occurs more commonly in hot, humid weather conditions and may also be related to severity of exertion. Follow emergency instructions, below:.

What to do in an asthma attack

  • STOP any activity.
  • Take your blue rescue inhaler.
  • Sit up.
  • If the medicine is not working, call 911.
  • If symptoms are not getting better, keep taking your blue rescue inhaler until the ambulance arrives.

To stay safe, remember:
Always keep your rescue inhaler with you (in a pocket, fanny pack, etc.) while your exercise. Don’t leave it in your locker or in the car.
Never leave a person with asthma symptoms alone. Don’t let them run off alone to get their inhalers.

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