Asthma is a serious disease with over 3,000 people dying each year in the US. Luckily some medications and inhalers can really help asthma sufferers. But what would you do if you had an asthma attack without an inhaler?
There are a hundred different scenarios where that could happen. Where you find yourself alone without any way to call for help. What would you do?
Here are nine suggestions for how to prevent & treat an asthma attack without an inhaler.
Prevent an Asthma Attack Without an Inhaler: Before it Happens
1. Know what triggers your attacks.
- Give up smoking and avoid any secondhand smoke. This is one of the single most important things you can do to prevent future asthma attacks. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are major triggers for asthma attacks.
- Allergies are another serious issue. Identify your allergy and avoid it. Sometimes it is not just that easy, though allergy medicine can assist you in preventing an attack if used properly.
- Vigorous exercise can also be a trigger. Make sure you have a warm-up and cool-down session before and after your workout.
- Stress is another trigger that can really hit at any time. For this, try learning any relaxation techniques, breathing, or visualization.
2. Learn breathing techniques.
There’s promising evidence that breathing exercises might help prevent attacks, according to a few studies.34 These methods must be learned slowly over days to weeks. For assistance, consult with your doctor.
A few often recommended are:
- Papworth Method
- The Buteyko breathing technique
- Yogic breathing
- Deep diaphragmatic breathing
Deep breathing helps to control asthma symptoms because it brings more oxygen into the lungs. The increased oxygen can help to relax the airways and reduce inflammation. Additionally, deep breathing can help to calm the mind and reduce stress, which can also trigger an asthma attack.
3. Maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly
Being overweight increases your risk for asthma and makes asthma attacks more severe. Exercise also helps keep the lungs healthy, which can also help prevent asthma attacks.
4. Eat fruits and vegetables
Aside from avoiding common asthma triggers, adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is a great way to help prevent asthma attacks.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that are beneficial for overall health – including the health of your lungs.
5. Take plenty of fluids
Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep the airways moist and prevents them from becoming dry and irritated. This is especially important if you live in a dry climate or if you exercise outdoors regularly.
The body is made up of about 60% water. When the body doesn’t have enough water, the internal organs can’t function properly. Thirst is one way the body tells us it needs more water, but by that time, we’re often already dehydrated.
Water is essential for many bodily functions, including regulating our body temperature and digesting food. It also helps to lubricate our joints and keep our skin healthy. But most importantly, water helps keep our respiratory system functioning properly. It moistens the airways and prevents them from becoming dry and irritated – which can lead to an asthma attack.
6. Airborne Irritants
As we mentioned before smoke greatly contributes to asthma problems as well as other airborne irritants such as cold weather, dust, and pollen. These irritants can cause the airways to become inflamed and swollen, which makes it difficult for air to pass through them.
7. Drinking coffee or tea
Coffee and tea contain a chemical compound that is similar to theophylline, which was once used as an asthma medication. However, many people believe that the quantities in these beverages are insufficient to have any effect.
8. Oral decongestants
Oral decongestants help to clear the airways and allow more air to pass through. This can help to relieve the symptoms of an asthma attack. Additionally, oral decongestants can help to reduce the inflammation and swelling in the airways.
9. Keep an EpiPen handy
Have epinephrine around for emergencies. It is not traditionally used for asthma attacks, but if all else fails, it could be a lifesaver.
Please, ask your doctor before trying any of these things. Never use these as an alternative to prescription medicines.
How to Treat an Asthma Attack When You Don’t Have Your Inhaler?
If you’re having an asthma attack and you don’t have your inhaler and are far away from help. If you are in the backcountry or rural area and are not able to get any type of medical help then it’s important you learn what to do.
There are a few things you can do to help relieve the symptoms.
1. Sit up straight
Sitting upright relaxes your airway. Don’t bend over or lie down, as this restricts your air passage even more.
2. Take deep breaths
Deep breaths may help to slow down your breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale through your mouth. This will help to avoid hyperventilating.
3. Be Calm
Anxiety causes your chest and back muscles to tighten, making it harder to breathe. Staying relaxed will help the muscles to stay loose and not tense.
4. Remove the trigger
If you can get away from the trigger that caused the attack and move to a clean environment – do it.
5. Get professional medical help
If you can’t manage any of the above and your breathing becomes more difficult seek immediate medical help.
When an asthma attack strikes and you don’t have your inhaler with you, there are some things you can do to help. These tips are for preventative care and for emergency situations only and should not be a substitute for seeking out medical advice from your local doctor.
 Tips for Asthma Prevention
 6 Breathing Exercises for Severe Asthma
 Breathing exercises for adults with asthma
 Comparative Effectiveness of Breathing Exercises and/or Retraining Techniques in the Treatment of Asthma