How Serious is Your Asthma Attack?

Symptoms that can help evaluate its severity

If you have an asthma attack, it's important to be able to judge its severity.The American Academy of Family Physicians offers this information to evaluate the seriousness of your asthma flare-up:

  • A little bit of wheezing and mild difficulty breathing during activity indicates a mild asthma attack. When you sit, you should be able to breathe normally and speak in full sentences.
  • If you have trouble speaking, whether walking or sitting still, you're having a moderate attack. You may need to pause to take a breath just to finish a sentence. Loud wheezing when you exhale also is common.
  • If you are having a very hard time breathing, that's a sign of a more serious attack. You may also have trouble speaking just a few words without stopping to catch your breath, or feel tense or anxious.
  • Symptoms of extreme fatigue and confusion indicate a serious attack that needs more than just quick-acting asthma medicine. It requires a trip to the emergency room.

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