How to Prevent an Asthma Emergency

If you're worried about your risk of having a serious asthma attack, new information provided by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) may help you breathe a little easier. ACEP experts say that most serious asthma attacks can be prevented-if you take the proper steps to manage this chronic condition on a regular basis.

The Rise in Asthma Emergency Cases

The number of people suffering from asthma in the United States is at an all-time high.  Too many asthmatics seem to be ending up in the emergency room struggling with life threatening symptoms.   But by keeping your asthma under control all the time, you can prevent an asthma attack.

Early Warning Signs

If you have an Asthma Action Plan that you've developed with the help of your doctor, it probably details some key steps appropriate for your specific situation. This likely includes taking control medications and also recognizing the common signs of an asthma attack, such as chest tightness, wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

You should also be on the lookout for subtle changes that can signal the beginning of an asthma flare-up. Some the early warning signs of an impending attack can include:

  • Wheezing or coughing during the night
  • An increased need for your fast-acting relief inhaler
  • Experiencing asthma symptoms during physical activity
  • Having trouble completing daily activities, including work or school
  • Needing medical care for respiratory issues

What to Do in an Asthma Emergency

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, you should refer to your asthma action plan to try and head off an attack. You'll probably need your fast-acting relief inhaler and may need to increase your control medications.  Just keep in mind that everyone is different. Therefore, it's important to stay in close contact with your doctor and gain a clear understanding of your specific respiratory challenges. Also, keep a diary and write down your symptoms and when you feel them so you can begin to notice patterns.

Identifying Triggers

It's essential to identify your asthma triggers and do your best to avoid them. This can include:

  • Allergens such as smoke, dust mites, mold, and pollen
  • Scented products
  • Changes in weather conditions, such as extreme cold or humidity
  • Respiratory ailments and other illnesses

Remember that by paying attention to how you feel on a regular basis and responding accordingly, you can effectively take control of your condition and head off emergency room visits.




"Asthma Awareness Can Help Prevent Rush to ER." US Department of Health & Human Services, 12 March 2011. Web. 18 April 2011.

"Tips to Remember: Asthma Triggers and Management." American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. AAAAI, n.d. Web, 18 April 2011.