Summer is almost here which means it is time for camping, road trips, and numerous other adventures. Unfortunately, for the millions of people in America who have or have a loved one with asthma, it is also a peak time to find yourself dealing with an asthma attack without an inhaler.
To be clear, it is important that anyone who suffers from asthma to be sure to do everything they can to follow all medical advice given to them and to keep up their supply of any prescription medications. It is especially crucial to make sure you have access to your inhaler at all times—sometimes an asthma attack can strike with very little or no warning. Asthma is an incredibly serious condition and by no means should you ever forego professional medical advice to try to treat asthma yourself. That being said, life happens. If due to some unforeseen circumstances you do find yourself without an inhaler (like if your rescue inhaler turns out to be empty), here are some steps you can take to try to make the best of the situation and achieve asthma relief without an inhaler.
Asthma Relief without Inhaler
Having an asthma attack (without an inhaler, especially) is an extremely stressful situation—perhaps even more so if you are the parent of a child having an asthma attack without an inhaler. But it is more important than ever to remain calm. Concentrate on breathing (or help your child too) and remember that the asthma attack will end eventually. You (or your child) needs to try inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling through your mouth with your lips pursed.
While many people have the urge to lay down when they are suffering from an asthma attack without an inhaler, it is important to remain upright as much as possible. This will open up your airways and allow your lungs to take in as much air as possible. If you need to, sit down, but sit up straight.
Identify the trigger
You likely know your asthma triggers already and do your best to avoid them. However, it is pretty inevitable that you will encounter them at some point over the course of your life—hopefully not while you are experiencing an asthma attack without an inhaler. If you do find yourself in this situation and there is something specific that is triggering an asthma attack (say, for instance, cigarette smoke or dust), get as far away from it as possible. Move to another location or remove the trigger itself. This will help keep your asthma from becoming further aggravated. If you are not able to completely remove yourself from exposure to the asthma trigger, try breathing through your shirt or something similar to filter the air you are receiving to the best of your ability.
Drink a Hot, Caffeinated Beverage
Hot coffee or tea can be helpful in alleviating some of the symptoms if you or a loved one is suffering from an asthma attack without an inhaler. If you are able to, try sipping some to slightly open your airways and get some relief. While caffeine should never be used as an outright replacement for prescription asthma medication, studies have shown that the caffeine in 3-4 cups of coffee, for example, can be helpful in providing asthma relief without inhaler for a couple of hours. Furthermore, asthmatics should not consume large amounts of caffeine on a regular basis; save this trick for if and when you truly need it!
Dial 911 if Needed
A shocking number of people put off seeking emergency medical attention when they really need it because they are worried that their symptoms will subside before an ambulance arrives or that their ailment will turn out to be nothing. Do not put off calling 911 or visiting the emergency room if you feel at all that you need it. It is better safe than sorry! If you cannot speak or are having trouble walking, it is a sure sign that you need attention right away. Having a medical ID bracelet or a medical card detailing the fact that you suffer from asthma is a good preparation to help in the case that you encounter and asthma attack without an inhaler and need someone else to dial 911 for you and to help medical personnel more quickly identify and treat your symptoms while you are indisposed.
If you are having any trouble controlling your asthma or would like to explore new treatment options that may be a better fit for your condition and your lifestyle, be sure to schedule an appointment at one of our Valley-wide locations. Our practitioners provide a variety of specialty treatments and are eager to find strategies to make managing health conditions, well, manageable.