An asthma attack can be triggered by the body's allergic response to an allergen. When the body is exposed to an allergen, a series of responses occur, beginning with the release of histamine. Histamine causes the nasal passages to swell, the nose and eyes to run, sneezing, and coughing. If the attack occurs rather suddenly, the allergic response can have a dramatic effect on the lungs. When the lungs are affected, the normal result is a mild to moderate asthma attack that generally correlates to the other symptoms. When the sneezing and runny nose begin to subside, the wheezing and difficulty breathing associated with asthma will also begin to diminish.
The most effective way to treat an asthma attack is through the use of bronchodilators and steroid medications that work to open the small pathways in the lungs. Understanding how to breathe and being able to control the panic that sometimes sets in when an asthma attack strikes are also important. Keeping breaths at a slow, steady pace and remaining calm will prevent the chest from tightening up, making it increasingly more difficult to breathe. It is also important to use medications that work to decrease the frequency of an asthma attack. These medications help to control the substances like histamine that cause an attack once they have been released by the body. They also work to strengthen the tissues of the lungs.
With chronic asthma attacks, episodes may not be able to be prevented, but they can be controlled and their frequency and duration diminished. Corticosteroids and other medications that work to control the release of the substances that trigger an asthma attack may help to reduce the frequency of chronic attacks. By controlling the frequency, the duration is also kept to a minimum. Individuals who do not have regular or chronic attacks may still be able to control the episodes they do have by acting quickly when they feel the changes begin to occur. Constantly having a rescue or emergency inhaler on hand is important if a person wants to be able to properly manage their asthma.
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