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Asthma Attack and No Inhaler

Kanika Khara
The simplest and most effective way to control an asthma attack is to use an inhaler. However, this story dwells on methods to control an asthma attack in conditions when one doesn't have an inhaler around.
During an asthma attack, the smooth muscles of the bronchi in the lungs contract, making the airways narrow and causing the tissues lining these airways to swell from inflammation and mucus secretion. This results in breathlessness and difficulty in breathing for the affected individual, and is termed as an asthma attack.
Common symptoms of an asthma attack include breathing problems, wheezing (a whistling sound on breathing), shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. Asthma attacks prevail
  1. in people with a weak immune system,
  2. in those suffering from viral respiratory infections, and
  • in individuals who are allergic to dust, pollen, dust mites, animal fur, mold, environmental pollutants, etc.
Thankfully, these days, there are various medications that can help calm an attack, and one such rescue medication is an inhaler.
An inhaler is a dispenser that produces a chemical vapor (bronchodilators) to be inhaled in order to relieve nasal congestion by dilating the bronchial passageways and improving the passage of air into the lungs. Inhalers enable the patient to breathe easily and help reduce the symptoms within a few minutes.
In situations when an inhaler is not available, or even after using it the symptoms do not subside, the affected individual may tend to panic, causing more harm than good. If you are faced with such a scenario, where you have forgotten your inhaler, or the inhaler is not helping, you can try some of the following tips and home remedies, but remember that in such cases you should ALWAYS call emergency services, or go to a qualified doctor for treatment.

Things To Do

As mentioned before, it is highly recommended to contact your doctor in case you have symptoms that occur frequently and lead to asthma attacks. The first step to deal with an attack is understanding and detecting the initial indications, before a full blown attack takes place. While suffering from an asthma attack, remaining calm is important.
Panic can cause heavy breathing and hyperventilating, which leads to energy loss, making you dull and worsening the condition. If a doctor has been monitoring your condition and has given you an asthma action plan, it is important to follow the plan immediately to curb the symptoms.
Here are some tips that you can follow when you are caught without your inhaler and suffer from an asthma attack:
  • First and foremost, remove all items around that may trigger the attack - like dust or animal dander. As far as possible, try to keep the place clean and ventilated.
  • Make sure you are sitting comfortably, preferably in an upright position. Try to avoid lying down. In case you are wearing tight clothes, loosen them, as tight clothing can interrupt normal breathing.
  • Since asthma makes you breathe faster due to insufficient supply of air reaching the lungs, it is advised to try to take slow, deep breaths, breathing through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This not only helps you relax but also conserves strength.
  • You can also try eating food that includes honey, milk or garlic, as these are known to help during attacks.

Healthy Tips

  • Dry lungs lead to difficulty in breathing. It is suggested to drink more water so that the lining of the lungs are hydrated which helps prevent an attack.
  • Along with this you can also practice deep breathing exercises which will help you breathe normally.
  • It is also advisable to follow a proper exercise regimen which would help you lose weight thereby preventing asthma attacks in future. Avoid over-exercising as this can be a trigger for the attacks as well.
  • Abstain from smoking and tobacco smoke as these trigger asthma attacks.
  • Small amounts of tea and coffee are reported to be good for treating asthma. This is because of the presence of theophylline, an old medicine used for the treatment of asthma.
Other than the aforementioned tips, there are some medicines that can give quick relief during an attack. These include Albuterol, Proventil, Xopenex, Ventolin, and Maxair (short-acting beta agonists). They are also termed as rescue medications. Ipratropium (Atrovent) has also been reported to provide relief for a short period during an asthma attack.
If there is no improvement in your breathing even after trying some of the above remedies, do not delay to consult your doctor. If not treated in time, asthma attacks can even prove to be fatal. While these remedies or tips can help you when you are without an inhaler, be advised that it is highly lax and dangerous for asthma patients to be without an inhaler.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this Story is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.