person being wrapped up by smoke

Wait, Is This An Asthma Attack?

Today, I had one of those feelings that I have not had in quite some time. An asthma attack. But wait - could I still recognize all the signs?

I wasn't expecting an asthma attack

It is amazing what a stretch of good asthma control can do. Asthma attacks, or at least significant, sudden onset asthma attacks, had been out of sight, and out of my mind.

It started with running an errand. In fairness, my asthma control has been in a bit of a decline, but I'm doing my best to get through it. Nothing critical and everything within the limits of my asthma action plan.

I am currently washing out a biologic, as I will be making a change to the one I can take in a matter of days. However, I needed to go through a period of adjustment. My OCS had been adjusted and I am in full consult with my respirologist during this stage. Just a few more days to go.

Encountering triggers

While I was running errands, I walked by an office building that was under a large renovation. Actually, the whole small city block was under renovation. Since a lot less of the sidewalk was available and all the smokers were everywhere, I knew I may be in trouble, but thought that I could quickly walk through it. Due to my severe twitchy airways, that is all that was needed to provoke an asthma attack.

To recap, an asthma attack also may be referred to an asthma exacerbation. I like to call mine "respiratory situations." These refer to a worsening of symptoms. Symptoms may include coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing. Your airways may tighten, narrow and produce mucus.1 Some asthma attacks can be treated with prompt care at home or where you are. Others may require immediate medical attention, if they do not respond to previous care. Keep an eye on your symptoms and your action plan.

I reached for my rescue inhaler and spacer, which I had in my bag and proceed to take my usual rescue dose. Unfortunately, when I turned the corner to take this dose. I ran into more smokers from the buildings side entrance. Honestly, why were they everywhere? My rescue inhaler was helping, another assault of smoke was not helping.

A sudden onset asthma attack

I finally made it top the park bench across the street, this was also in front of where I was picking my lunch up. I waited for my meds to fully open up my airways. It was then time to decide if I need another plan of action. Had my cough resolved enough? I certainly had a significant mucus situation and an alarming cough.

I thought the parking enforcement officer may have even inquired if I need help, thankfully he just gave me an "are you okay?” look. While my symptoms were resolving, had they resolved enough? I was deciding about next steps. Was it time to seek immediate medical attention, perhaps phone the specialist?

A calm came over me as I recalled my action plan, and decided that it was likely time to call my specialist. I had to admit that this attack threw me for a loop. Although, I was prepared. I am not sure that I need to experience that again in a hurry.

Have you experienced a sudden asthma attack?

Have you had a sudden onset asthma attack that shook you to the core? What was on your action plan and how did you get past being freaked out? Share your story here.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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