A Guidebook for Managing Asthma


Watch for Warning Symptoms

The more you know about asthma, the better you can handle it. There are many ways to control the symptoms. Learn and watch for symptoms that happen at the start of an asthma flare-up. When these warning signs start, you can take steps to prevent the asthma from getting worse. Don't ignore the warning signs of asthma. Though each person with asthma will have different warning signs, some of the more common signs to watch for are:
  • Peak flow numbers below your normal level
  • Coughing
  • Problems sleeping
  • Wheezing
  • Weak or soft crying in babies
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Tiredness
  • Pain and tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty drinking

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    Take Action When Warning Symptoms First Appear

    When an asthma flare-up happens, it is important to stay calm. Follow the Personal Asthma Management Plan you and your doctor have made. You should have a plan for healthy days, sick days, and emergencies. The emergency plan will help you know who to call, where to go, what to take with you, and what to say when you get there. Follow the plan and do what you can to relax. Here are some steps to take when you think a flare up is starting:

    Call your doctor or nurse if:
  • The peak flow stays below normal or drops and does not get better after treatment.
  • Symptoms don't get better after the medication is taken.
  • Get help immediately from your doctor's office or emergency room if:
  • You are having breathing trouble more than three times a day.
  • You are having a very hard time breathing, and the chest and neck pull in or shoulders are hunched or lift with each breath.
  • You are having a hard time walking or talking, or your child stops playing and cannot start again.
  • Your small children have a weak and soft cry.
  • When an asthma attack seems serious, make sure you or your child gets help right away.

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