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Asthma Attack | When to Go to the E.R.

Asthma Attack | When to Go to the E.R.

We’re going to talk about what happens when you come to the emergency department with
an asthma exacerbation, and by exacerbation I mean a flare-up or worsening
of your typical asthma symptoms. First, prior to ever coming, you should have a conversation with your child’s doctor about their asthma and when they should come to the emergency department. Hopefully, if your child has a diagnosis of asthma, they should have
what’s called an asthma action plan which is a document given to you by your
regular doctor or your pulmonologist that describes what to do when they’re
having different asthma symptoms. Somewhere on that plan should be what
happens if they have an exacerbation and need to come to the emergency department. If you get to a point where you feel like your
child needs emergency care for their asthma definitely come right in because
asthma can get pretty bad pretty quickly. You don’t want to wait if they’re
having symptoms. Once you get to the emergency department with asthma,
what typically happens? They’ll be put in a room like any other emergency patient.
Their vital signs will be taken and they may be asked to do something specific to
asthma such as pulmonary function testing where they blow into a tube and
different things are measured. They’ll most likely be given a breathing
treatment right away unless they just had one at home. They’ll probably be
given a steroid medicine, Prednisone or Orapred, unless they just had that at
home. Depending on how severe their asthma exacerbation is, they’ll likely be
given more breathing treatments and they may even need some additional medications either by mouth or through an IV. If their asthma exacerbation is not
getting better pretty quickly in the emergency department, then they will
have to stay in the hospital overnight or perhaps even longer, so if you’re coming to the emergency department with asthma, consider that you may have to stay
overnight in the hospital and be prepared for that. If you ever have any
questions about whether or not to come to the emergency department, you can always call your doctor’s helpline and speak to registered nurses about that,
but if you’re ever in doubt just come to the emergency department where we see
a lot of asthma and are always very prepared to take care of that.

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