How to fix an asthma attack without an inhaler

Asthma: Sufferers should always have emergency spray with them

Five percent of adults suffer from asthma. Pollen, dust mites or even fragrances can lead to shortness of breath in those affected. Therefore, you should always have your emergency spray ready to hand. In addition, breathing techniques and certain postures can help alleviate acute symptoms.

It happens all of a sudden: the affected person has difficulty breathing, feels a tightness in their chest or has to cough violently. Animal hair, dust mites or pollen can be responsible for this.

Every asthmatic has their own triggers

Sometimes the cause is also cold air, a change in the weather, a stressful situation or the smell of a heavy perfume. "Every asthmatic has certain so-called trigger factors that can cause shortness of breath," explains the pulmonologist Marek Lommatzsch from the University of Rostock.

In asthma, the bronchi are inflamed

In asthma, the airways are over-sensitive to certain stimuli. It is not the lungs that are affected, but the bronchi, i.e. the tube system in which the air is transported from the windpipe into the lungs and out again. These airways are chronically inflamed and narrowed in asthmatics.

"Inflammation does not mean infection," explains Berthold Jany, President of the German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP). "In most cases the inflammation is triggered by an allergy, but there are also asthma patients for whom allergens are not a factor."

Lung function normal between attacks

Those affected can be completely symptom-free over a long period of time. "They have a completely normal lung function until they come into contact with an allergen or trigger," explains pulmonologist Andrea Koch from the Bergmannsheil University Hospital in Bochum. The airways then contract, and the patients experience severe shortness of breath, which can range up to a severe attack.

"When those affected leave the allergy field again or take medication in the event of an attack, the symptoms usually go away again," says Koch. "This reversibility is characteristic of asthma." Patients can therefore do a great deal themselves to get the disease under control.

You can't always avoid the triggers

To prevent seizures, the experts mainly recommend avoiding the triggers. That's easier said than done. "Some patients with cat hair allergy say they would rather suffer from asthma than separate from their beloved cat," reports Lommatzsch. Even the pollen count cannot be avoided one hundred percent.

Asthma is still easy to control. As standard therapy, patients inhale a cortisone spray once or twice a day, which reduces inflammation and dilates the bronchi.

Don't be afraid of cortisone

When they hear the keyword cortisone many people are concerned. They are afraid of severe side effects. Jany explains that this fear is largely unfounded with regard to the sprays. The inhalation dose is only a fraction of what enters the body when taking a tablet.

Lommatzsch also reassures: "In low doses, the spray has almost no side effects. With high doses, minor side effects can occur, but they are manageable." It is more harmful to health if you do not use the inhalation sprays or use them only irregularly for fear of side effects.

Ask about asthma education

Asthma patients should be trained in how to properly use the inhalation devices. "It all looks very banal, but a lot of people make mistakes in the application," explains Jany. In asthma training, those affected also learn how to behave properly in the event of an attack. It is best to ask your doctor about suitable training in the area.

What helps in an emergency

The first rule in an emergency is: "Inhale with an emergency spray so that the narrowed airways become wide again and you can breathe again," explains Lommatzsch. Often the same inhaler can be used for this as for the daily long-term therapy.

These breathing techniques will help

To get additional relief, it is recommended to exhale using the so-called lip brake technique: You close your lips loosely and exhale against resistance. This extends the exhalation phase and thus gets more air out of the lungs. The overinflation of the lungs is reduced. After that you can breathe in better again.

It also helps to support yourself with your upper arms: in the "goalie position" on your thighs or with one arm sideways against a wall with the other hand on your hip, or with both hands on a railing.

When to see the doctor

Marek Lommatzsch warns, however: "If ten minutes after inhaling with the emergency spray it has not improved, a doctor must be contacted who will then administer further medication." If a severe asthma attack is not treated or treated inadequately, it can be fatal in the worst case.

Get vaccinated against flu and pneumococci

Those affected can do even more: "Some patients benefit from regularly measuring their breath with a small device in order to recognize an impending seizure in good time," explains Jany. The pulmonologist also recommends that asthmatics get vaccinated against flu and pneumococci.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.

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  • Subjects:
  • Lifestyle,
  • Health,
  • Asthma,
  • Doctors,
  • Anxiety,
  • Inflammation,
  • Side effects,
  • Allergy,
  • House dust mites,
  • Lung,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Pollen,
  • Pollen count,
  • flu