When To See Your Doctor about Asthma

People living with asthma should see their healthcare provider about their asthma at least once a year and more often if having symptoms. Even well-managed asthma can sometimes get out of control.

Here are some guidelines for when to get extra help.

Call a healthcare provider right away when:

  • You feel faint, dizzy or weak
  • You have trouble doing a routine activity, such as cooking dinner, cleaning or taking out the trash
  • You have a cough that won't go away
  • You're wheezing when you breathe in or out, especially if this is different from your usual breathing pattern
  • Your wheezing gets worse even after you have given your medicine time to start working (most quick-relief medicines work within 15 minutes)

Go to urgent care, go to the emergency room or call 911 right away when:

  • Your lips or nails are turning blue
  • Your nostrils are flaring each time you breathe in
  • The skin between your ribs or at the base of your throat appears stretched every time you breathe in
  • You are taking 30 or more breaths per minute
  • Talking or walking at a normal pace is difficult

Asthma Action Plan

Your asthma action plan tells you the steps you need to take in an emergency. Make sure you are prepared by creating this plan with your doctor.

Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel.

Page last updated: August 30, 2022

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