When You're Caught Without Your Inhaler
Many asthmatics travel everywhere with their inhaler, just in case this worst case scenario should happen. But circumstances could arise where you don’t have your trusty medicine to help you through the worst of it, and if that’s happened to you, you’re certainly not alone.
Luckily, there are a couple of things that can help you weather the storm, or at least give you some time to get the help you need:
- Stay calm. It’s been said before, but it deserves extra attention: if your asthma is acting up, relaxing your mind and body will help to relax your airways.
- Move away from the situation. Asthma attacks are very often caused by specific triggers, and you may have wandered into a danger zone without even noticing. If you’re in a closed room, get into a well-ventilated area; if you smell chemicals or smoke, go outside or get into some fresh air right away.
- Have a coffee. It won’t magically fix the situation, but a cup of hot coffee for an asthma attack will give you a jolt of caffeine that can help to open up the airways for a short time before you can get medical help. Don’t go crazy on the caffeine – too much can make you more anxious and jittery.
If you can’t treat yourself with your asthma medication and your symptoms aren’t getting better, you’ll need to visit the hospital. Don’t wait until you can’t breathe before you see a doctor, since severe asthma attacks can quickly become life-threatening.
Learn from your Experience
Experiencing an asthma attack is certainly scary, but getting through it can be an empowering experience. You were able to stay focused, get the treatment you need, and return to a comfortable state.
After your breathing is back to normal and you’re relatively relaxed, take the next steps to better asthma management:
Jot down a few sentences in a journal to record the details of your attack. What were the earliest symptoms? Were you feeling different sensations than usual? How did you try to treat the symptoms once they started, and how did that approach fall short?
The better you can track your asthma patterns – and more importantly, the episodes that don’t fit the pattern – the more accurate you can report to your doctor and get on track with a better asthma management plan.
Write an Asthma Action Plan
Once you know what symptoms and challenges you can expect, you’ll be able to craft a targeted asthma action plan to handle any future episodes. Work with your doctor to include the specific types of medication to take in every circumstance, and clarify when and how to seek help.
Even if you managed to suppress your asthma attack, it’s important that you report it to your doctor within 48 hours. Asthma attacks are signs that you’re not controlling your asthma well enough, and that can spell major trouble for your respiratory health. A stronger preventative medication may be needed, or else you’ll have to be more attentive to your management plan.
Even when you’re breathing easy, you need to take your prescribed medication to stay in control and one step ahead of your condition.