What are the common triggers of an asthma attack?

Asthma is a chronic (long-term), inflammatory disease in which the lining of a person’s airways becomes swollen and inflamed, the muscles surrounding the airways constrict and mucus production increases, leading to mucus plugs.

Asthma is one of the most common long term respiratory diseases.

Asthma symptoms resemble other respiratory problems such as emphysema, bronchitis, and lower respiratory infections.

Signs and Symptoms of Asthma

Symptoms of asthma include:

  • A chronic cough, especially at night
  • Coughing and wheezing that occurs with exercise
  • Difficulty or painful breathing
  • A wheezing or whistling sound

Triggers of Asthma Attacks

An asthma attack can be triggered by:

  • Pollens
  • Mold
  • Animal protein such as dander, urine, oil from skin
  • House dust or dust mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Certain foods
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Exercise
  • Strong odors such as perfumes, household cleaners, cooking fumes, paints, and varnishes
  • Chemicals such as coal, chalk dust, or talcum powder
  • Air pollutants
  • Wood smoke from heating stoves and fireplaces
  • Changing weather such as changes in temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, or strong winds
  • Exposure to vapors, dust, gases, or fumes
  • Medications such as aspirin, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen
  • Sulfites used as preservatives in food and beverages
Smoking is a common trigger of Asthma

First Aid for an Asthma Attack

  1. Sit the victim upright.
  2. Shake an asthma inhaler, place the mouthpiece in the victim’s mouth and
    give one puff.
  3. Have the person inhale slowly and steadily.
  4. Have the victim hold that breath for four seconds, then take four regular
    breaths.
  5. Repeat until four puffs from the inhaler have been given.
  6. Wait four minutes, if there is no improvement, give another 4 puffs.
  7. If there is still no improvement, seek medical assistance immediately.
  8. Continue giving 4 puffs every 4 minutes until the ambulance arrives, you can give adults up to 6 – 8 puffs every five minutes.

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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