Asthma attacks can occur very suddenly. As you get used to having asthma you may notice very personal symptoms such as an itchy feeling in the skin or nose, light¬headedness, nausea, or a tickly cough. Children, in particular, are likely to notice that their skin itches in the top part of their bodies. It may be possible to avoid an attack by taking extra medication at this time.
Other warning signs that your asthma could run out of control include the following:
- Changes in your peak flow meter recordings including: falling readings; morning dips; and increased gaps between the morning and evening readings.
- A more frequent need for reliever medicines, or the discovery that they don’t seem to open the airways as well as usual.
- Waking up at night with coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or chest tightness.
- Your usual symptoms of asthma seem to get worse.
- Inability to maintain your usual activities and exertions.
Ideally, the asthma management plan you have discussed with your doctor should include advice about how to handle warning signs. If you have any of the above signs you should discuss the situation with your family doctor as soon as possible. Follow his or her advice.
If you have received no advice, it is worth taking extra puffs of your reliever medicine. If this does not help within 20 minutes, then you must seek urgent medical attention.