Educational Brochure - NUR 427


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Lifesaving Tips and Strategies for Asthmatics

(Picture of Lungs)

Don’t be cheesy, keep from being wheezy!

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The Inside Story on Asthma

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that makes it hard to breathe. Air is carried into the lungs by airways. Asthma makes the airways swell and close up, which makes it feel like air cannot get into the lungs; therefore making it hard to breathe. A sudden spurt of not being able to breathe after running or breathing a strong perfume is an asthma attack. Using your asthma medication inhaler can prevent these attacks, and help breathing to become normal after an attack.

What causes it?

Several things can trigger an asthmatic’s airways to react this way.

Examples of some of the triggers are: Pets, Weather, Stress, Pollen, Mold, Dust, Smoking, Exercise, Some Foods, and Strong Smells

Asthma Statistics

  • It is estimated that 80% of allergy deaths could be prevented with proper asthma education
  • Asthma accounts for about 25 million missed workdays per year
  • Nearly 15 million school days are missed annually due to asthma
  • Diagnosing Asthma

There are several ways to tell if you have asthma.Pulmonary Function Tests doctors perform these tests by having an asthmatic breathe into a machine. The machine will analyze the breathing pattern of that person, and will usually show a decreased air intake.

Arterial Blood Gas- A blood sample is taken to determine the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Oxygen levels can be low and carbon dioxide levels can be normal or high.

Chest X-ray- Will show a lot of air in the lungs, sometimes with areas of lungs that are collapsed.

Allergy testing- a skin test to determine what kind of triggers are causing the asthma attacks.

Inhalation bronchial challenge- the doctors tests what the skin allergy testing revealed to see if it affects the lungs the same way as the skin.

Long-term Care of Asthma

  • Know what triggers the asthma attacks
  • Know the signs of what happens before an attack
  • Always keep an inhaler. It is a special medicine called a bronchodilator that opens up the airways, especially in emergency situations

Let someone else know when an attack begins. Having help is essential.

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