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What to Do in Acute Asthma Attack
Dr Pradyut Waghray
You are usually advised to use a peak flow meter to determine if your asthma is getting worse. If you don’t use a peak flow meter, you will know your asthma is getting worse when you need to use your bronchodilator more often, or when you experience nocturnal attacks.
When you know your asthma is getting worse, you need to visit your doctor right away. In case you have an acute asthma attack before you can visit your doctor, and are caught unawares, then follow these guidelines:
  1. You can increase the dosage of your preventer. For instance, if you are taking 400 micrograms of inhaled steroid twice daily, then double the dosage to 800 micrograms twice daily.
  2. You can also increase the use of your bronchodilator. Ensure that you take it 2–3 times a day.
  3. Contact your doctor before using oral steroids. In case of an absolute emergency, you can take 20–30mg of oral steroid if you can access it, and then contact your doctor as soon as you can.
Dr Pradyut Waghray, Consultant Chest Physician, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Specialist, Senior Consultant Pulmonologist, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.

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