Asthma attacks are one of the more common chronic diseases in Australia and can hit any age. People over 65 years old are particularly vulnerable, with some sources stating between seven and 15 percent of the population in that age category are diagnosed with it and it leads to asthma attacks. When even such a small percentage has the potential to grow further, there’s a need to keep the numbers down and the airways open so to speak, especially now when COVID19 is becoming another dangerous respiratory illness.
What are asthma attacks?
Asthma attacks are by definition asthma incidents caused by certain triggers. These include air pollution, changes in air temperature, flu, inhalation of pollen, and even lung activity during and after exercise. The buildup to the asthma attack may differ in time from as fast as a few minutes to brewing over several weeks. When it does happen, the lungs swell up and their bronchial tubes are forced to generate more mucus, blocking the airways to a considerable degree. When that happens, the symptoms of an asthma attack include shortness of breath, chest pains, and wheezing, plus low peak exploratory flow readings when breathing via a peak flow metre. There’s also the possibility that the symptoms may be so acute, an emergency asthma inhaler would not work, warranting immediate hospital confinement.
Some experts claim that asthma attacks usually hit people with a known history of asthma. This is true if they have been previously confined for sudden episodes, diagnosed with other respiratory ailments, or even used at least two inhalers a month.
Dealing with asthma attacks
Taking action against asthma requires the development of an asthma action/management plan, which will be formulated through consultations with a GP and a respiratory therapist. A full checkup should also trace your own medical history, breathing tests, and possible genetic traits passed down from relatives.
While asthma action plans vary from person to person, they are hinged on three critical elements:
- Treatment for day-to-day situations including listings of medicines and the frequency of administration.
- Listing the warning signs of asthma attacks and how to counter them.
- Listing the symptoms that will indicate an asthma attack in progress, and emergency details if things get worse, including contact numbers of next of kin and nearest hospitals to be brought to.
The GP should be able to write down or chart the asthma action plan, with updates as deemed necessary. The patient can do their part by placing the plan details in easily-accessible areas or close to asthma treatments.
Any asthma action plan can be effective if the patient is aware of the trigger situations and finds a way to avoid them altogether.
- Allergens. Allergens are the catalysts of any allergies, and if there are potential locations with any concentration allergens, the affected patient should be away from them. In some cases, pets like dogs are also carriers of allergens as their fur is fine and can be easily breathable.
- Smoke. Smoke is classified under air pollution and any inhalation may inflame the lungs. As such, the patient should avoid locations with fire events, including grill cookouts, fireworks displays, or anybody smoking. If the person is dining out, make sure the establishment has a no-smoking policy or a self-contained no-smoking area.
- Cold avoidance. Asthmatic patients must familiarise with identifying people visibly suffering from runny noses or colds, plus avoid anything those people may have touched, even if the surface is supposedly disinfected.
- Undergo vaccinations. People hit with asthma should make it a point to have their flu shots once a year, plus administered Tdap and zoster vaccines. All three will help reduce the danger of contracting pneumonia and its various forms, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, and shingles.
- Medications. All asthma medications should be taken according to the prescribed dosage and schedule.
Essential treatments for asthma attacks
Asthma medications are usually broken down into relievers, preventers, and controllers.
Relievers are used for immediate emergency situations such as the familiar L-shaped inhaler. One spray per dose is necessary as increased intake leads to side-effects such as hand tremors and increased pulse. However, you must consult your doctor again if you find yourself using the inhaler more than twice a week.
Preventers are oral medicines that pump corticosteroids into your lungs to help reduce inflammation. These are available in spray or tablet form.
Controllers are the next step in case preventer medication is insufficient. They are mostly shaped like relievers and preventers but have higher-potency content.
The three medicines can be combined with spacers, clear plastic bottles where the medicine will first enter, then the patient can gradually breathe in the medicine.
Nebulisers have been commonplace for asthma treatments, particularly when used with vials of ventolin and breathed deeply for several minutes. However, some studies no longer recommend usage of nebulisers as spacers mated with relievers and preventers are being touted for better effectivity; one study even highlighted the danger of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease infection amongst patients using nebulisers.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
Every person deserves to breathe deeply and clearly in their later years. Support from a company like ASAG can go a long way. ASAG can provide support for any asthma management plan through a reverse mortgage service.
Depending on the size of the property’s equity, the funds generated from the ASAG Reverse Mortgage can be allotted for an Aged Care or a Home Care programme with considerable investment towards improving air quality at home, including regular maintenance of the HVAC system from cleaning the filters and ductwork to optimising the blower or air conditioner. Part of that funding may be used for acquiring the above asthma support equipment.
To enquire about the equity release options available, you can get in touch with ASAG through either a phone call at 1300 002 724 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Additionally, you can make use of our tool provided below to assess your equity on your own.