Asthma attacks occur when a person’s airways become swollen. Severe asthma attacks can be life threatening. It is important for a person to give themselves time to recover after an asthma attack.

Asthma is a condition that affects a person’s airways. When a person has asthma, their airways can become inflamed. This can cause them to narrow, making breathing difficult.

An asthma attack can occur after exposure to certain substances that result in a flare-up. These substances are known as triggers. Common triggers can include allergens, strong odors, and chemical irritants.

A person may need time to recover following a severe asthma attack. This may involve contacting a doctor and getting plenty of rest and sleep. It is also advisable for a person to create an asthma action plan to help them manage any potential future attacks.

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It is recommended that a person try to continue taking actionable steps that help prevent an asthma attack while they are recovering from a previous one. They may do this in the following ways:

  • continuing to take their asthma medication as prescribed by their doctor
  • monitoring the air quality and pollen count in the area
  • staying indoors when the air quality is bad or the pollen count is high
  • using air conditioning when pollen or pollution levels are high
  • using a dehumidifier to keep humidity low
  • speaking with their doctor about taking medication before exercising
  • using household products that do not contain chemical irritants
  • using fragrance-free products
  • keeping cockroaches away by sealing food tightly and sealing any cracks that could allow them to enter
  • vacuuming once a week, preferably using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter
  • avoiding pet dander
  • avoiding smoking
  • using an exhaust fan when cooking
  • showering after going outside to remove allergens and pollution
  • washing bedsheets frequently to kill dust mites

Information from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) notes that a person should see their doctor within 2 days of having an asthma attack if paramedics provided treatment or they had to go into the hospital to receive treatment.

The UK’s Asthma and Lung UK suggests that a person make an urgent same-day appointment if they treated themselves at home with their inhaler.

A doctor can check to make sure a person is recovering properly. They may adjust the doses of a person’s asthma medication if it is not controlling their asthma effectively. They may also check if a person is taking their medication correctly.

A doctor may also prescribe steroid tablets to help reduce the inflammation in a person’s airways.

Asthma and Lung UK states that a person should take time to rest following an asthma attack. They suggest that a person should try to:

  • rest and relax as much as they can
  • stay home from work until they have fully recovered
  • ask family or friends to help with household tasks or shopping
  • delay social events until they are better

Asthma and Lung UK notes that it is common for a person to have trouble sleeping following an asthma attack. It is helpful that a person try and get into a good sleeping routine while they are recovering.

Research from 2020 found that people with asthma who slept 5 hours or less per night were more likely to have an asthma attack.

A person who has asthma may improve their sleep in the following ways:

  • removing allergens and potential triggers from the bedroom
  • removing items that can gather dust
  • washing bedding frequently in hot water
  • using a dehumidifier

A different study from 2020 found that breathing exercises could help improve lung function in people with mild to moderate asthma. This may help strengthen a person’s lungs following an asthma attack.

The American Lung Association recommends pursed lip and diaphragmatic breathing techniques.

Pursed lip breathing involves a person first breathing in through their nose. They then breathe out through their mouth for twice as long, pursing their lips as they exhale.

For diaphragmatic breathing, a person starts by breathing in through their nose. They then place their hands on their stomach to feel how it rises and falls during breathing. They then breathe out through their mouth for two or three times as long as they inhaled.

The American Lung Association notes that certain vitamins may help reduce asthma symptoms. These vitamins include vitamin D and vitamin E.

Vitamin D can help boost a person’s immune system and reduce inflammation. Foods containing vitamin D include fortified milk, eggs, salmon, and orange juice.

Vitamin E contains tocopherol, a compound that can help reduce certain asthma symptoms. Foods containing vitamin E include almonds, Swiss chard, broccoli, kale, and hazelnuts.

Read on to learn more about dietary recommendations for asthma.

An asthma action plan is a step-by-step set of instructions on how to manage a person’s asthma. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) notes that these instructions can help a person:

  • identify allergens or irritants to avoid
  • know if they are having an asthma attack and what to do
  • know what medications to take and when
  • know when to call their doctor or go to the emergency room
  • know who to contact in an emergency

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a sample asthma action plan for a person to use. A person can speak with their doctor about how to fill in their plan.

It can take time for a person to recover from a severe asthma attack. It is important that they speak with their doctor immediately after having an asthma attack.

It is advised that a person take time to rest after having a severe asthma attack. It is also necessary that they continue to take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.

Putting together an asthma action plan is a priority. It contains important actionable steps to help manage the condition. A person can work with their doctor to create a plan that meets their needs.

If a person has an asthma attack, it is important that they follow this plan.