How can I prevent an asthma attack?
To prevent an asthma attack, the most effective prophylaxis is to stop exposure to the trigger. This may be possible, though not always easy, for some triggers such as dust mites or animal hair in allergic asthma, or certain medications in non-allergic asthma. However, asthma is often triggered by triggers that cannot be sufficiently avoided in everyday life.
Examples include pollen, respiratory infections or physical exertion. Here another prophylactic option comes into play: If exposure to a potential trigger can be planned, for example if the asthma occurs mainly during physical exertion, an asthma inhaler can be taken 10-15 minutes beforehand. This prevents an asthma attack from occurring during the exposure. The most effective prophylaxis for triggers that cannot be avoided and that cannot be treated by taking an asthma spray in time is basic drug therapy.
Can an asthma attack also be fatal?
An acute asthma attack is a potentially life-threatening clinical picture. A severe asthma attack that is not treated adequately with medication within a short period of time can lead to suffocation due to the significantly constricted airways. It is therefore absolutely essential that asthmatics always carry their emergency spray with them wherever they go so that they can have it at hand at any time in an emergency.
In some cases, even the use of an emergency spray is not sufficient to stop the attack. In this case, the emergency service must be informed immediately or the patient must be driven to the clinic by himself. Here, further medication can be used. In extreme cases it may also be necessary to secure the airways.
The therapy of asthma
How bronchial asthma is treated depends on the type and frequency of the symptoms. The aim of treatment is to achieve freedom from symptoms or to significantly reduce the frequency of attacks. An undisturbed night’s sleep is also an important criterion in deciding which stage of asthma therapy is necessary.
The aim is also to avoid situations in which emergency therapy with an emergency spray is necessary as far as possible. Depending on the patient, different drug measures are necessary to achieve these goals. The first goal of asthma therapy is to identify the triggers.
If it is clear what triggers an asthma attack, these can be avoided. However, this is not possible for all triggers. For example, if pollen is the trigger for an allergic asthma attack, it is almost impossible to avoid it.
However, there are other triggers, such as certain foods or strenuous exercise, that can be avoided or prevented. Indeed, asthma medication can be used both in acute attacks and as long-term therapy or as a preventive therapy before exposure to the trigger. A distinction is now made between 5 stages of asthma therapy.
In therapy level 1, the patient receives a spray that he or she should only use if necessary. For example, before situations in which an asthma attack is expected or in an emergency when an attack has occurred. This spray contains a short-acting beta-2 sympathomimetic.
The most common active ingredient is salbutamol. Usually inhalation of one stroke is sufficient if required. This inhalative demand therapy with a short-acting beta-2 mimetic is continued through all further stages.
Therapy stage 2 additionally includes a long-term therapy with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) in low dosage. This spray does not act immediately like the short-acting beta-2-mimetics, but has an anti-inflammatory long-term effect on the respiratory tract. Typical active ingredients are budesenoside and beclomethasone.
Medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are used in therapy stage 3. Alternatively, the low-dose inhaled corticosteroid from stage 2 can be combined with a long-acting beta-2 sympathomimetic. Both sprays are inhaled regularly rather than on demand.
Formoterol is a typical representative of a long-acting beta-2 sympathomimetic. In stage 4, medium to high-dose inhaled corticosteroids and a long-acting beta-2 sympathomimetic are used. Stage 5 is a new addition to the new asthma guideline.
In addition to the drugs in stage 4, corticosteroids in tablet form or an antibody therapy are added in stage 5. From level 2, a further drug can also be used. We are talking about montelukast.
This is a leukotriene receptor antagonist that should only be used if the above-mentioned therapy measures of the respective stage cannot achieve sufficient asthma control. Montelukast is taken in tablet form. The most important drug for acute attacks is therefore the short-acting inhaled beta-2 sympathomimetic such as salbutamol.
However, the other drugs that are used permanently also have a significant influence on the frequency and frequency of the seizure, as they have a positive effect on the airways in the longer term. You can find more information on the therapy of asthma at
- Therapy of asthma
- Cortisone therapy for asthma
- Medicines for asthma
It should be mentioned in advance that any household remedies are not sufficient in an acute severe asthma attack. A severe asthma attack can be life-threatening without appropriate drug therapy.
The restriction to household remedies should therefore be avoided in an acute attack. However, the coughing attacks that typically occur in asthma can be alleviated by certain household remedies. In this way a seizure can be partially prevented.
It is important to drink a sufficient amount of water every day so that the mucus produced during an asthma attack is not too viscous and can be coughed up well. Another helpful substance is caffeine. Caffeine leads to a slight dilatation of the airways and thus reduces the risk of an asthma attack.
A briefly boiled mixture of garlic and milk is said to be effective against the irritation of the throat. Ginger is also said to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the airways. It is also said to counteract swelling of the airways and to have a relaxing effect on the respiratory tract. Ginger can be pureed and sweetened with some juice and honey. Several times a day a tablespoon of this mixture is said to have a positive effect on asthmatic complaints.