Learning to recognize and treat early warning signals can lessen the severity or even prevent an asthma attack from even occurring.  Asthma, most frequently, proceeds slowly to more and more severity.  Early warning signals usually develop hours or even days before an acute episode, therefore, the term “asthma attack” is not correct.

In order to decrease the severity and number of acute asthma episodes, you have to learn to recognize your own warning signals.  When you experience acute asthma, try to remember what happened before the episode.  Write down what happened, and soon you will begin to see a pattern.

When you recognize that acute asthma is pending, follow your written asthma crisis management plan given to you by your  Asthma & Allergy Center  doctor.

Here are some possible early warning signals.  Circle the ones that you know are your early warning signs and add others if needed.

  • wheezing
  • pale
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • excessive yawning
  • sneezing
  • tight feeling in chest
  • stomach ache
  • feeling upset
  • itchy or watery eyes
  • breathing faster
  • coughing
  • breathing becomes labored
  • itchy skin or hives
  • feeling spacey
  • feeling hot or cold
  • feeling nervous or restless
  • feeling closed in
  • feeling tired and weak
  • ears hurt
  • sore throat
  • frequent nighttime awakenings
  • itchy, scratchy throat
  • a drop in peak flow meter readings <80% of best

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