Asthma attack what to do if no inhaler

Asthma attack what to do if no inhaler

If you have asthma, then you know how scary it can be when you have an attack and have trouble breathing for anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, depending on its severity.

Asthma attack what to do if no inhaler

So you’re probably careful to keep your rescue inhaler with you at all times in case of an emergency.

But what happens if an attack starts and you discover that your inhaler is empty or you don’t actually have it??

Asthma attack what to do if no inhaler

Without an inhaler you should know which steps you can take to stop the attack and get your breathing under control. In some cases understanding these tips could save your life if you end up in this situation.

Change your location. Asthma is typically triggered by an irritant—either an allergen or toxin—that inflames the airways. So remove yourself from the environment that contains the trigger (if you know what it is) as fast as you can. If you’re reacting to dust, pets, mold or smoke, for example, get away from it…or at the very least, breathe through a sleeve, a scarf or your jacket collar to reduce your exposure.

Tell someone. Talking to someone may reduce your anxiety, and that’s especially helpful, because anxiety can make your asthma attack worse. Also, if your asthma attack becomes more severe later on, you may need a ride to the hospital, so it’s always good to keep someone else in the loop.

Asthma attack what to do if no inhaler

For an asthma attack no inhaler there are a number of things that may help. Breathing exercises for asthma may be learned which limit the inflammation that occurs by minimizing irritation to the airways. Breathing out slowly through your mouth will help calm and relax you some, so that anxiety does not make the problem worse or cause any further constrictions. Continue breathing in this way until the attack starts to subside.

Another possible way to deal with an asthma attack no inhaler situation is to use either an over the counter asthma attack treatment or some strong coffee, if either is available. OTC remedies for asthma contain either ephedrine or adrenaline, and may work in some cases. These drugs are strong though, and can be dangerous. Drinking strong coffee may also help, because the caffeine has a stimulant effect that helps open the airways and relieve difficult breathing. Caffeine is metabolized into theophylline, which is also a drug that’s used to prevent and treat asthma by relaxing the airways and decreasing the lungs’ response to irritants. Getting caffeine from any source (a soda, an energy drink, a supplement, etc.) will likely help, but tea and coffee have other compounds that act similarly to caffeine (plus, liquids—especially hot liquids—help loosen mucus), so getting your caffeine in this form is best.

Steam things up. Take a hot shower or stay in the bathroom with the hot water running from the showerhead or tub or sink faucet. Steam or warm moisture is better than cold moisture because it loosens mucus, so using a cool-air humidifier, although helpful, is not ideal.

Ask your doctor about taking magnesium and vitamin C. Taking 500 milligrams (mg) of magnesium and 1,000 mg of vitamin C during an asthma attack may help if you’re an adult. (Children ages 10 to 17 should take half the doses and children between the ages of five and nine should take one-third of the doses.) Magnesium is a bronchodilator that relaxes the breathing tubes, and vitamin C has a slight antihistamine effect.

Take medications. The prescription corticosteroid prednisone, available in pill form, is used only for acute problems, such as during an attack, because it helps reduce inflammation—so if your doctor has already prescribed it to you and you have it on hand, use it.

Other common asthma attack no inhaler treatments include Vick’s Vapor Rub, boiling water, and hot tea which has been strongly brewed. A hot shower may also help, but make sure there is no risk of you becoming dizzy and falling down while showering. Exercise induced asthma may also be relieved by OTC medications, but many times even these treatments are not available. If the asthma attack is severe go to the nearest Emergency Room immediately for medical treatment.