When Should I Go to the ER for an Asthma Attack?

By Adem Lewis / in , , /

– If you have asthma, when you’re doing well,
you should sit down with your doctor and come up with a plan. There are different ways
to monitor the asthma. One of the more common ways we use is something called a peak flow meter. And it gives you a rough idea of how good your lungs are on any given day. The peak flow meter is designed to approximate how tight the airways are. So if your airways are really constricted, the peak flow is gonna be lower. So, when you’re doing well, you should set up an action
plan with your doctor, and decide when you hit
a certain peak flow, this is what you should do. If you get to a certain peak
flow, you do something else. And so, I’ll usually come up with a plan with my asthma patients that
if they hit a certain number, they start certain
medications, like prednisone, and if they hit a different number, they go to the emergency room, they don’t even talk to me necessarily, they just go to the emergency room. So I use the peak flow meter as a way to tell my patients when to
head to the emergency room. Now if you don’t have a
primary care physician, or have never seen a
primary care physician, and you’re having difficulty breathing, I think err on the side of caution, and go to the emergency room. I mean, worst thing that happens is they say everything’s okay
and they send you home. But if you’re staying at
home with an asthma attack, it’s probably not a good thing.

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