boy using asthma inhaler

Symptoms


What Are the Symptoms of Allergic Asthma?

Allergic asthma, the most common type of asthma, is triggered by exposure to allergens. In response to these triggers, the body produces antibodies, causing the release of chemicals like histamine. These chemicals can be responsible for the various symptoms of asthma, including:

  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing

What Are the Symptoms of an Asthma Attack?

Asthma attack symptoms are similar to those described above for allergic asthma, except that these sudden flare-ups tend to be more severe. Among the most common asthma attack symptoms is the contraction of the muscles surrounding the airways. As the muscles contract, the airways also produce extra mucus, causing the breathing tubes to narrow.

Asthma attack symptoms can be serious and may include:

  • Severe breathlessness
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Severe coughing or wheezing
  • Low peak expiratory flow (PEF) readings from a peak flow meter
  • Failure to respond to a quick-acting (rescue) inhaler

If symptoms don’t improve with the recommended medication or other asthma remedies, you should seek care right away at the nearest urgent care or emergency room.

What Are the Top 5 Signs You Have Severe Asthma?

It’s important to recognize the signs of severe asthma, since doing so can help prevent an oncoming attack. Here are five signs to look for:

  • Shortness of breath, even while inactive
  • A bluish tint to your skin, known as cyanosis
  • Waking from sleep due to difficulty in breathing
  • The inability to complete a sentence due to shortness of breath
  • Constant tightness in the chest

If you experience these serious—even life-threatening—conditions, you should seek immediate medical attention even if you’ve never previously been diagnosed with asthma.


Causes


What Are Asthma Triggers?

In those with an overly sensitive immune system, the airways can become inflamed when exposed to certain asthma triggers, known as allergens. Although asthma triggers can vary from person to person, some of the most common ones are:

  • Pollen, pets, mold, and dust mites
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Breathing cold, dry air
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Stress

What Is the Main Cause of Bronchial Asthma?

Bronchial asthma is simply another name for asthma, a chronic inflammatory disease that causes acute shortness of breath. Symptoms occur most often at night, during the early morning hours, or after exercise.

In children, this condition is typically caused by an allergic reaction—a genetic predisposition that stimulates the production of antibodies in response to pollen, dust mites, fungi, or animal dander. In adults, however, bronchial asthma can be a non-allergic type of asthma that results from a viral infection of the lower respiratory tract.

 


Treatment


What Should You Do When You Have Trouble Breathing?

An MD Now provider can work with you to develop an asthma action plan. This usually includes quick-acting asthma remedies delivered via an inhaler. Use your prescribed medication, inhaling it deeply into your lungs, as soon as you experience difficulty breathing. If your symptoms are severe, head to your nearest MD Now Urgent Care immediately after use.

In addition to responding to an immediate flare-up, your MD Now provider may prescribe inhaled corticosteroids or oral medications to prevent future flare-ups. Make sure you take all medications as prescribed, and that you fully understand any possible side effects. You will also need to have your condition monitored over time, so that your provider can make adjustments to the prescribed medications if needed.

What Are Some Emergency Home Remedies for Asthma Cough?

In addition to your prescribed quick-relief medication, your MD Now provider may recommend certain remedies you can use to help with the severity of your asthma attacks. Drinking caffeinated tea or coffee or inhaling eucalyptus essential oil are ways to help open your airways and improve lung function. Also, simple actions such as sitting upright and taking deep, slow breaths will help calm you and can provide additional relief.


The content provided on the MD Now website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for receiving medical care and treatment from a qualified healthcare provider. Never delay seeking advice, evaluation, and treatment from a medical professional because of what you’ve read on this site, since the information provided may not apply to you or your symptoms.