Each year, there are about two million visits to the ER (emergency room) because of asthma complications. Of course, the idea of treating asthma is to prevent a visit to the emergency department, however if your asthma is uncontrollable you’ve got to find emergency assistance right away.
It is important to understand when you may treat your own symptoms at home and when you must get emergency help. The earliest step is to check beforehand and know where the nearest emergency room is situated. You should talk with your doctor when you should go to the ER before you have a life-threatening flare. The instructions must be spelled out in an asthma action plan, which includes peak-flow meter readings and certain symptoms, you may use as guidelines for when you must go to the emergency room.
In general, you need to get help immediately by getting to an emergency room if:
• Your chest feels tight
• You barely can talk due to rapid breathing
• Your heart beats really fast
• You use all rescue medications consistently but the symptoms won’t improve after 30 minutes or quickly return
• The peak-flow reading is 50 percent below the average and won’t improve with drugs
• Your body coloring changes (you are pale, or worse if your fingernails or lips are turning blue)
When visiting the ER, you should take along the asthma action plan or a list with the medications and their dosages, so that you may tell the medical staffs at the ER about the details. At the ER, nurses will check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, rate of respiration and the blood oxygen saturation level. The nurse may know if you’re wheezing, perspiring, pale, or turning blue. Doctor may order for blood examination, and you may get oxygen or use a heart monitor. Emergency procedure often starts with nebulized rescue medications which contain bronchodilators to loosen the muscles band that surround the air passages, and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling in your lungs. An IV can deliver quick-acting corticosteroids. Blood examinations and chest X-rays can eliminate other conditions, for example an infection or pneumonia. Blood examination will also reveal the amount of oxygen and CO2 in the blood.
Nurses will consistently assess your physical condition. If you are improving, you will likely be observed for another 3 to 6 hours to make sure that you are not going to get another flare and that your asthma attack is completely under control. If you are not getting better, you must stay in the hospital for a diagnosis. It is a life-threatening situation in which your asthma isn’t responding to treatment. Even it occurs mostly in people with very serious disease and in people who have had previous serious attacks, any asthma sufferer can experience a serious asthma attack like this.
When staying as inpatient, you will continue to get IV medications, oxygen, and nebulizers, and a respiratory specialist will monitor your respiration pattern, observe your chest, and monitor your oxygen saturation. When you’re use a peak-flow meter, the doctor or specialist will use it to assess the effects of your treatment. If you don’t need IV medications it is possible to use oral medications to lower your symptoms and then you can go home.