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Warning Signs and Symptoms for Asthma

Asthma attacks or episodes hardly ever happen without warning. The warning signs for an attack are not the same for everyone. They may be mild, and may not seem to be related to asthma. Warning signs may start 24 to 48 hours before an asthma attack begins, and should be treated as early asthma symptoms.

You and your doctor or asthma educator should include your warning signs on your Asthma Action Plan. If it's hard for you to tell when your asthma is starting, you may need to use a peak flow meter regularly. A peak flow meter shows how fast you can blow out, and if this number is going down, your asthma may be getting worse. By taking care of your warning signs and peak flow number drops early, you may be able to avoid an asthma attack.

Think back to your last asthma attack. Did you have any of the signs below? Check off the warning signs below that have happened to you, and show them to your doctor and family.

Early warning signs
Itchy chin
A cough that doesn’t go away, especially at night
Itchy, scratchy, or sore throat
Waking up at night
Dark circles under eyes
Runny, stuffy or congested nose
Increased tiredness
Peak Flow readings in the "Yellow Zone"
Mood change – grouchy or extra quiet
Itchy, glassy or watery eyes
Rubbing nose a lot
Stomach ache
Feeling restless
Change in face color – pale or flushed
Throat clearing
Eczema flare-up

Signs that an asthma attack is starting... ACT FAST!
It feels hard to breathe out
Chest feels "tight" or hurts
Breathing faster than normal
Get out of breath easily

If you experience any of the warning signs above, follow your Asthma Action Plan and contact your doctor if necessary.

DANGER SIGNS! This is an asthma attack!

Bluish, gray or dusky color to lips and nail beds
Trouble walking
Trouble talking, can't speak in whole sentences
Skin between ribs or above breastbone sucks in when breathing
Fast heartbeat or pulse
Peak flow reading in the Red Zone
Nostrils flare when breathing
Quick-relief medications do not work

If you experience any of the warning signs above, this is a medical emergency! Get help now, or call 911!

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