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 becomes difficult with shortness of breath or feeling like you can’t catch your breath, coughing, chest tightness as if the lungs are being squeezed as well as wheezing – noisy breaths that sound like a whistling or rattling sound in the chest, are common symptoms.
An asthma attack is traumatic for all involved. The person with asthma 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 one struggle for breath during an attack.