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A to Z: Asthma, Attack

Asthma, Attack

Also called: Asthma Flare-Up

An asthma attack, or flare-up, happens when a person's asthma symptoms suddenly get worse. It becomes difficult to breathe because airways are inflamed and clogged with mucus.

More to Know

Asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. In an asthma attack, these symptoms get more severe and happen more often. Triggers (like cold air or exercise) or allergens (such as pet dander or pollen) cause most asthma attacks.

Keep in Mind

An asthma attack can last hours or even days without treatment and can be life threatening. To help prevent asthma attacks, people with asthma should follow their asthma action plan; take all medications as directed; keep rescue medicine on hand at all times; take peak flow meter readings as recommended by their doctor; and avoid triggers and allergens.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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