In a severe asthma attack, urgent medical attention is required. Here are the severe asthma attack signs to monitor:
- Reliever Inhaler* medication not working.
- Unable to speak more than small phrases or words.
- Low peak flow readings when you use a peak flow monitor.
- Feelings of drowsiness/confusion.
Recognizing these signs can save a life.
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What to do during an asthma attack 
Long-term asthma medications are designed to reduce the risk of attacks when taken as prescribed. But what should you do if you are suffering from an asthma attack? These steps are a general guide, it may differ for individuals with different asthma action plans.
Step 1: Sit up straight and try to keep calm
Step 2: Take one puff of your reliever inhaler* every 30 – 60 seconds up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
Step 3: If you are feeling worse or symptoms are not improving. Call 999 for an ambulance. If the wait is longer than 10-15 minutes, repeat step 2.
Uncontrolled asthma is a risk factor for a severe asthma attack, be sure to talk to your doctor if you notice :
- Night waking due to asthma
- Reliever inhaler* needed more than 2 times a week.
- Activity limitation due to asthma.
- Daytime symptoms more than twice/week?
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*SABA reliever inhaler
- Understanding Asthma. (2022). from https://asthmamalaysia.org/understanding-asthma/ World Health Organization Mortality Database. Global Health Estimates 2016:
- Asthma attack - Symptoms and causes. (2022). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20354268
- Your Asthma action plans | Asthma+ Lung UK. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/manage-your-asthma/action-plan/
- GINA. (2020). POCKET GUIDE FOR ASTHMA MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION [Ebook] (p. 15). GLOBAL INITIATIVE FOR ASTHMA. Retrieved from https://ginasthma.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Main-pocket-guide_2020_04_03-final-wms.pdf