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Home > Health Library > Asthma Attack
When asthma symptoms suddenly occur, it's called an asthma attack. It's also called an acute asthma episode, flare-up, or exacerbation. Attacks can be brief (about an hour) or last for several days. They may be seasonal (similar to hay fever) or occur during any season.
When you have an asthma attack, airflow to the lungs is reduced.
During an asthma attack:
Asthma symptoms may start suddenly or happen up to several hours after you have been exposed to triggers, such as tobacco smoke or animal dander. In some cases, symptoms may not occur until 4 to 12 hours after contact. Although severe attacks may seem to occur suddenly, they usually occur after several days of increasing symptoms.
Asthma attacks are caused by:
Anything that makes your asthma or breathing worse can cause an asthma attack.
It may be things that you are allergic to, such as:
Other things can cause an asthma attack too, such as:
An asthma action plan is a written plan that tells you what asthma medicine to take every day and how to treat an asthma attack. It can help you make quick decisions in case you are not able to think clearly during an attack.
There's no certain way to prevent asthma. But you can reduce your risk of asthma attacks by avoiding things that cause them.
The goal is to reduce how many asthma attacks you have, how long they last, and how bad they get.
Here are some ways to help avoid asthma attacks.
This helps prevent asthma attacks.
Have your family members get one too.
The vaccine may not prevent pneumonia. But it can prevent some of the serious complications of pneumonia.
Think about using acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead. (Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome, a rare but serious problem.) Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Current as of:
July 6, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: John Pope MD - PediatricsAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: July 6, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
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