Severe Signs & Symptoms
Asthma Online Training Slide 8

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Again, quick-relief medications are used in the event of an asthma attack emergency.

How might one know when a child is experiencing an “asthma attack?” Well, when signs and symptoms worsen to the point that one starts to really struggle with getting air into the lungs then that person can be considered to be having an “asthma attack.” An asthma attack can be a life-threatening emergency.

Signs to look for:

  • Troublesome cough
  • Pronounced wheezing
  • Shortness of breath with rapid breathing
  • Accessory muscles (nasal flaring and use of abdominal and neck muscles) used
  • Emotional changes: panic, fear, restlessness
  • Inability to speak
  • Decreased alertness

Common signs and symptoms of asthma worsen in an emergency. Coughing can become troublesome and continuous. Wheezing becomes louder and more pronounced. Shortness of breath continues to the point that someone breathes faster and faster to try to get more air in. The person may start to use his or her accessory muscles. Ribs suck in and become pronounced as the stomach may be moving up and down deeply when breathing as the person starts to use abdominal muscles to try and suck in more air. There is also nasal flaring when breathing in.

The feeling of not being able to breath may cause emotional distress, panic, fear and restlessness.

The child is struggling so hard to breath he or she may struggle to speak.
And, the struggle to breath coupled with fear and lack of oxygen decreases alertness and a child’s ability to concentrate, think, and react properly.

(Crawford, 2011).

*  The absence of a wheeze in the presence of other symptoms is a major concern, and the student needs immediate care.



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