How To Recognize an Asthma Attack

Sheetal B
By Sheetal B. Updated: March 6, 2022
How To Recognize an Asthma Attack

Asthma is characterized by wheezing, cough and difficulty in breathing when in contact with an allergen. This condition affects the passage of air through the respiratory tract to and from the lungs. An asthma attack is increasingly rapid worsening of asthma symptoms caused by muscle tightening around the airways. The attack could be mild to moderate, Severe or life threatening. Asthma patients usually are mentally prepared for deteriorating coughing, wheezing and breathlessness; however, it is extremely important to recognize the symptoms in order to take necessary steps needed in any kind of situation whether you are a patient or you come across someone who has an asthma attack. At Onehowto we tell you how to recognize an asthma attack.

You may also be interested in: How to Stop an Asthma Attack without an Inhaler


  1. How to recognize a mild to moderate attack
  2. How to recognize a severe attack
  3. How to recognize a life threatening attack
  4. What To Do?

How to recognize a mild to moderate attack

Mild to moderate attacks are more common than others. The patient may not need any assistance and will be able to function normally within minutes of the attack. To recognize this asthma attack, the patient will notice slight wheezing and little of or no sign of breathlessness. There will be no change in manner or speech or walk. The handy inhaler will be good enough to control the situation. To know how to stop an asthma attack without an inhaler, read here.

How to recognize a severe attack

In case of a serious attack, the patient will need help. Administer asthma first aid if you know it and call for an ambulance as soon as possible. To recognize a severe asthma attack you'll notice the patient has visible signs of difficulty in speech and walking. He/she will not be able to speak full sentences due to severe breathlessness .One can see the face turning pale and sweaty while wheezing and coughing are louder and heavier. These symptoms would continue in spite of taking reliever medication. There is obvious anxiety and panic along with all these symptoms.

How To Recognize an Asthma Attack - How to recognize a severe attack

How to recognize a life threatening attack

A severe attack may turn into life threatening if medical help is not provided on time. It can be extremely dangerous for the patient as there is acute breathlessness to the point of being unable to speak more than a word or two or sometimes none at all. Patients may suffer from ‘silent chest’, a situation where there isn’t enough air in the lungs to produce wheezing or coughing. Reliever medication would have no impact and the patient turns a pale blue overall that will eventually lead to collapsing.

How To Recognize an Asthma Attack - How to recognize a life threatening attack

What To Do?

As a patient or an onlooker, it is good to know asthma first aid. If you have recognized a life threatening situation, one may not be able to help oneself and will always need assistance. Know your asthma and avoid the triggers that cause it. If you do have an attack that’s more than moderate, always have a check up done with your doctor after the attack, as a professional will be able to record the history of such instances and tweak your medication accordingly.

Asthma is a lifelong disease and allergens that cause it can crop up anywhere. Be prepared to deal with an attack of any kind and always keep it in check so that you would never have to face a life threatening situation. To do so, we recommend you read our article on why does asthma get worse at night.

How To Recognize an Asthma Attack - What To Do?

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Recognize an Asthma Attack, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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How To Recognize an Asthma Attack