When air flows through the narrowed bronchial tubes, one or more of these symptoms may occur.
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest Tightness
- Mucus Production
Individuals with asthma may experience asthma symptoms in different ways. Some people with asthma have constant or daily symptoms. Other people may have periodic attacks. Attacks can vary from mild to severe and can last a few hours, several days, or longer. Symptoms are commonly worse at night or in the early morning.
MUCUS, POSTNASAL DRAINAGE & COUGH
The membranes that line your nose, throat and bronchial tubes are very sensitive. Normally, they secrete (produce) up to two liters of mucus a day to moisten and protect themselves. When these membranes become irritated, congested, and swollen, they secrete an extra amount of mucus. This mucus helps to protect the lungs and nose from irritating particles and infection.
If you have asthma, your membranes are more sensitive to irritants, such as smoke, cold air, strong odors and dust, causing them to secrete more mucus than normal. Infections may cause even more congestion, mucus, and discomfort. However, increased mucus or yellow mucus does not always mean that an infection is present. Check with your physician if you have more mucus than usual or if it is green or yellow-colored.
Although you may be bothered by excess mucus dripping in the back of your throat, the mucus does not irritate the lining. Forced coughing to bring up the mucus, however, irritates the bronchial tubes and can increase mucus production. Avoid forced coughing. Some people with asthma have a chronic cough as a result of excess mucus. The coughing reflex acts as a protective mechanism to expel the mucus blocking the air passages. This persistent coughing can again lead to more irritation, more mucus production, and more asthma symptoms. Voluntarily suppressing the cough, although difficult, is helpful. Do not use cough suppressants when a cough is caused by asthma. They are ineffective. Your allergist can prescribe the appropriate medication for treating your asthmatic condition. Drinking extra water and sucking on hard candy or lollipops (preferably sugar-free) can also help decrease the cough.
KNOW WHEN TO GET HELP FOR YOUR ASTHMA
There are many different types of asthma but no matter the trigger, any asthma attack can be scary. Many people find themselves wondering when to seek follow up care. In essence they wonder, “How bad does it have to get before I need to go in?” Dr. Bubak has developed this resource to help you determine when you should get follow up care for your asthma.