Common signs of an acute asthma episode are:
- Your coughing and/or wheezing will not stop.
- You’re breathing very fast but can’t catch your breath (Tachypnea).
- Your chest feels tight.
- You’re feeling tired AND out of breath.
- You’re agitated and anxious.
- Your pulse rate has increased.
- You’ve got allergy-like symptoms, including but not limited to a runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, scratchy throat.
- Coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath while you’re exercising or immediately afterward.
- You feel chest or abdominal pain.
Common signs and symptoms of increasing respiratory distress and acute breathing difficulty can include:
- Your inability to complete a sentence.
- You’re experiencing retractions (increased use of chest, neck, or abdominal muscles).
- You need to sit or lean forward in order breathe easier.
Make sure that you have an Asthma Action Plan in place so that you can successfully and efficiently regain control and normalize your breathing. Read Asthma Attack Action Plan – Are you prepared? as a primer if you haven’t set one up for yourself yet.
Also, be sure to read Asthma Triggers – Do you know what yours are?, Asthma Triggers – Is Your Home Causing Your Asthma?, Asthma and Outdoor Air Pollution in Southern California and Indoor Asthma Triggers – Asthma Proof Your Home if you’re unclear about your triggers or what you can do to help yourself.
The absolute best way to get through an acute asthma episode is to never have to deal with one. There is no reason why you can’t fully and confidently participate in the life of your choice. Camp, hike, bike, jog, ski, join sports leagues, take exercise classes. Just be sure you have planned ahead – just in case.