What’s An Asthma Attack?
An asthma attack usually starts when your airways over-react to a trigger, that is, something that makes your symptoms worse. This over-reaction results in airways swelling and narrowing, and producing more mucus. Breathing therefore becomes difficult, beginning with coughing and then progressing to even more difficulty breathing, and in most people, eventually to wheezing – noisy breaths that sound like a whistling or rattling sound in the chest.
An asthma attack is traumatic for all involved. The asthmatic often feels out of control, fearful of participating in physical activity and is often embarrassed about taking medications such as inhalers in front of others. In addition, the sensation of chest tightness and struggling for breath that occurs during an attack is frightening. The story that is seldom told is that of the family members and caregivers who experience helplessness and loss of peace of mind while they wait, on edge, for the next attack, or sit helplessly watching their loved ones struggle for breath during an attack.