An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of your asthma symptoms that interrupts your routine and requires either extra medication or some other intervention to help you begin breathing normally again.
Asthma is caused by inflammation (swelling) in the airways. When an asthma attack occurs, the lining of the air passages swells, mucus is produced and the muscles surrounding the airways become tight. This reduces the amount of air that can pass through the airway.
Common Symptoms of an Asthma Attack may include:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Shortness of or gasping for breath
UPMC recommends that you follow these four steps when having an asthma attack:
- Don’t panic during an asthma attack. Once panic sets in, your control disappears, and your symptoms can intensify. Remain calm, and follow a plan.
- Use your rescue inhaler, usually albuterol. If you have a spacer, use the albuterol with the spacer.
- If 2 puffs of albuterol only give you partial relief, repeat with an additional 2 puffs.
- If you are still not breathing better, call your doctor or, if you are breathing very poorly and can’t wait for your doctor to call back, proceed to the nearest emergency room
Go to the emergency room if any of these symptoms occur:
- Drowsiness or confusion
- Severe shortness of breath at rest or with exertion
- Severe chest pain
- Bluish color to the lips and face
- Extreme difficulty breathing
- Severe anxiety due to shortness of breath
Never Miss a Beat!
Subscribe to Our HealthBeat Newsletter!
Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!
About Urgent Care
Sometimes you need care right away, with no time to wait for an appointment. That’s where UPMC Urgent Care comes in. We offer prompt treatment for illnesses and injuries seven days a week, with no appointment necessary. With locations throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, you can find immediate care close to you – even if your doctor’s office is closed. Our services include treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, physicals, prescription filling, and flu shots and immunizations. Wait times for minor injuries and illnesses are usually shorter than the Emergency Department, and we accept most major insurance. Visit our website to find a location close to you.