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What is an asthma exacerbation?

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Quick Answer

Asthma exacerbation is a condition that causes inflammation and swelling of the air passages, leading to respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, troubled breathing and chest pain, according to Mayo Clinic. Another term for asthma exacerbation is asthma attack.

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Full Answer

Asthma exacerbation may result from exposure to allergens such as pollens and dust mites, smoke from tobacco and cold air, and conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease and infections of the respiratory system, states Mayo Clinic. However, the condition may also result from an unknown trigger.

Asthma exacerbation can either be mild or serious, notes Mayo Clinic. While the symptoms of mild asthma exacerbation improve and disappear when the condition is addressed in time using home treatments, the symptoms of the latter need immediate medical attention, which necessitates visiting a doctor. Irrespective of the type of asthma exacerbation, visiting the doctor is necessary if the symptoms fail to improve despite treatment to avoid possible complications such as respiratory arrest, which may eventually lead to death. However, starting the treatment when the condition is still in its initial stages enhances the effectiveness of a treatment plan.

Home treatments for asthma exacerbation include albuterol and prednisone medications, which should be taken according to the doctor's instructions, says Mayo Clinic. Other than home treatments, other treatments for asthma exacerbation include ipratropium, mechanical ventilation and intubation.

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