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Asthma Exacerbation

We evaluated you in the emergency department (ED) and believe that you have an exacerbation (worsening) of your asthma. Asthma is caused by inflammation and tightening of muscles in the airway. You were given breathing treatments and steroids, and your breathing improved. These medications will help with your current attack. A visit to the ED is a warning sign that your asthma may not be managed adequately. Asthma is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, but medications can help control your symptoms.

Steps to take at home:

  • Use your albuterol (inhaler or nebulizer) as directed for your symptoms. If you have a spacer, we recommend using it to help deliver the medication to your lungs more effectively.
  • Take the steroids (dexamethasone or prednisone) as directed to help reduce lung inflammation and decrease the risk of another attack in the next few days.
  • Take your other home medications as directed.
  • Follow up with your primary care doctor or pulmonologist (lung doctor) within one week to discuss your symptoms. They can talk with you about daily medications to help prevent asthma attacks. Ask them about writing an “asthma action plan” (aafa.org/asthma-treatment-action-plan) to prepare for future asthma exacerbations.

Please speak to your doctor or come back to the ED for new symptoms, such as difficulty breathing that doesn’t improve with your medications, chest pain, voice changes, high fevers, confusion, or other new or worsening symptoms. Please review medication inserts for side effects and call the ED if you have any questions about the medications or care you received.

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