Symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- a feeling of the chest rapidly tightening
- rapid breathing
- a blue tint to the skin and nails
- shortness of breath not related to physical activity
- chest retractions
- an inability to take a full breath
Not all people with asthma have all of these symptoms. Also, just because a person has these symptoms, it does not mean that they have asthma.
Asthma treatments aim to help a person manage the symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. Treatments may also lessen the long-term damage to the lungs that can occur with poorly controlled asthma.
A doctor may recommend a combination of treatment methods.
Long-term medical treatments for asthma can include:
- long-term inhaled asthma control medications, including corticosteroids, combination inhalers, and bronchodilators
- allergy medications
Doctors may also prescribe fast-acting, short-term medications for asthma attacks. These can include:
- oral or intravenous steroids to reduce airway swelling in severe attacks
- fast-acting bronchodilators
- short-acting beta antagonists, such as albuterol inhalers
Also, a doctor will likely recommend that a person with asthma try some lifestyle modifications to help control their symptoms.
Lifestyle modifications that a person with asthma can try may include:
- identifying and avoiding triggers
- using air conditioning to avoid outdoor asthma triggers
- cleaning the home regularly to avoid dust and mold
- covering the mouth and nose in cold weather
- managing stress and strong emotions