Are there home remedies that help with an asthma attack?
First of all, there are no effective home remedies for an asthma attack. Asthma is treated by using effective medications, avoiding triggers, and developing an asthma action plan together with the treating physician.
People with asthma should always have an emergency inhaler on hand and also regularly make sure that the active ingredients in the inhaler have not yet expired.
Asthma attacks are potentially life-threatening. However, online articles repeatedly tout home remedies whose effectiveness has not been proven by scientific studies.
In this article, you will find information about some of these remedies and reasons why some people find them effective.
Furthermore, you will learn what to actually do during an asthma attack.
Causes of asthma
Asthma often develops from an immune system reaction to an allergen in the environment. Reactions can vary greatly from person to person, possibly due to genetic factors.
Symptoms become much more severe during an asthma attack.
Common triggers of an attack:
- Animal hair,
- Cigarette smoke,
- Air pollution,
- Cold air,
- Emotions, such as stress, that speed up breathing,
- Flu or cold,
- physical exertion.
Asthmatics who do not adhere to prescribed treatment with medication are also much more likely to experience an attack.
signs of an asthma attack
An asthma attack often starts out seemingly harmless, but can become very dangerous.
During the attack, swelling and inflammation cause the airways to become narrower and the muscles around the airways to tighten up.
The bronchial tubes secrete more mucus than usual. This limits the amount of air that can pass through the bronchial tubes. This makes it very difficult to get enough air.
The following symptoms indicate an asthma attack:
- long persistent cough,
- the typical wheezing,
- Shortness of breath,
- hyperventilating (very rapid breathing),
- Paleness in the face.
Doing something quickly to relieve symptoms can prevent the attack from getting worse.
However, if the symptoms do not get better, the sufferer or people around them should call an emergency doctor immediately.
Steps to take immediately
During an asthma attack, make every effort to stay calm and take a whiff from an emergency inhaler.
It is best to stand or sit upright to allow the body to get as much air as possible.
A peak flow meter measures how well the lungs are working. Here’s how to tell if symptoms are subsiding.
If breathing does not gradually improve after using a reliever with a beta-2 sympathomimetic such as Salbuhexal, it is time to seek help.
Anyone who experiences an asthma attack should not drive themselves to the hospital, but should call the Number 112 call or have someone else drive you.
It is recommended to keep taking sprays from the inhaler until you get medical help.
When to call a doctor
If you do not manage to bring an asthma attack under control, you should call a doctor. The following symptoms are signs of an asthma attack:
- severe shortness of breath and the typical wheeze,
- Straining the muscles of the chest when breathing,
- Symptoms that do not subside despite using the inhaler,
- speech causes difficulty.
Some people believe that alternative treatments work for asthma.
However, there is still solid scientific evidence that the following agents can effectively stop an asthma attack:
1. eucalyptus oil
Essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties. This can potentially help treat asthma. Eucalyptus essential oil is one of these oils.
A Korean study concluded that 1,8-cineole, a major component of this oil, had a beneficial effect on airway inflammation in mice.
The authors of the study suggest that the application may also have a beneficial effect on people with asthma.
However, it should also be mentioned that essential oils release potentially harmful substances.
Further investigation is necessary. These substances are thought to make the symptoms of asthma worse, if anything.
Because drug regulators do not monitor wellness products, it is important that their users do their own research on the purity, safety and quality of the oils they use.
Asthmatics should be very careful when trying essential oils.
Most importantly, someone experiencing an asthma attack should not use an essential oil for relief under any circumstances.
2. Lavender oil
Lavender oil is also promising. According to a 2014 study, this oil can relieve symptoms of inflammation from allergies.
This also applies to allergic asthma. Like other alternative treatments, lavender oil is not suitable for use in emergencies.
3. Breathing exercises
Regular breathing exercise can reduce asthma symptoms. Breathing exercises improve mental well-being, and they can lead to less need to use the reliever.
Such exercises should especially lead to less hyperventilation.
They often include nasal breathing, slowed breathing and conscious breath control.
More research is needed on the use of breathing exercises in asthmatics.
One should not rely on such techniques when experiencing a seizure!
4. cut caffeine from coffee and tea
Caffeine from frequently consumed beverages such as coffee and tea causes the airways to open and makes breathing a little easier.
Caffeine may be able to slightly improve respiratory function for some time.
However, there is no firm evidence that caffeine actually relieves the symptoms of asthma.
Prevent asthma attacks
The best way to prevent asthma attacks is to avoid known irritants.
The most effective thing a person with asthma can do in their own home is to remove or reduce the known triggers.
Depending on the individually different triggers, one can do the following:
- Keep the house clean to reduce dust and mold,
- keep the windows closed and stay inside when the air quality is poor,
- quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke,
- Do not burn wood in the stove or fireplace,
- Always bathe pets and keep them out of the bedroom.
Furthermore, it is recommended to get vaccinated against influenza and COVID-19 to avoid asthma attacks caused by viral infections.
Asthmatics should take all medications prescribed to them, even if they feel fine and have not had any attacks recently.
Regular appointments with the attending physician help to assess one’s condition and adjust treatment as needed.
Create an asthma action plan
An asthma action plan created in conjunction with a physician helps to accurately document individual triggers and establish medications and their dosages.
It also contains important contact information in case an attack occurs.
Conclusion: one should not rely on home remedies
An emergency inhaler is always the first means to get an attack under control.
After that, seek help immediately if symptoms don’t improve.
Asthma attacks can become threatening very quickly. Unfortunately, none of the common home remedies can effectively end an asthma attack.