Status asthmaticus is another name for a severe asthma attack.
On TV shows or in movies, they may show someone having an asthma attack. The actress or actor just take a puff of their inhaler and presto! They are just fine - just like that!
For those of us that live with asthma, you may know that it isn't that easy.
It takes time for an inhaler to work and to help you breathe.
In some cases, it doesn't seem to work AT ALL.
All three of my kids have asthma (yes, they can blame me for that....)
When Son #2 was younger, he had severe asthma. He didn't respond like most patients when it came time to treat his asthma. When he would get sick, I would panic! We would use a nebulizer and give him a breathing treatment, but it didn't seem to help. So we would call Asthma Doc. Asthma Doc would listen to his lungs and start him on prednisone (a steroid liquid/pill.) Asthma Doc would also give him a steroid shot (decadron.) It's a stronger dose of steroid that can work quickly.
I would watch him VERY closely, even staying up all night to monitor his symptoms, and Son #2 would get still get worse. So we would head to the emergency room.
.WebMd has a list of severe asthma symptoms:
What Are The Symptoms of a Severe Asthma Attack?The symptoms of a severe asthma attack may include:
- Persistent shortness of breath
- The inability to speak in full sentences
- Breathlessness even while lying down
- Chest that feels closed
- Bluish tint to your lips
- Agitation, confusion, or an inability to concentrate
- Hunched shoulders and strained abdominal and neck muscles
- A need to sit or stand up to breathe more easilyThese are signs of an impending respiratory system failure and require immediate medical attention.
You may not have more wheezing and coughing with a severe asthma attack. In fact, the presence of wheezing or coughing is not a reliable standard for judging the severity of an asthma attack. Very severe asthma attacks may affect airways so much that the lack of air in and out of your lungs does not cause a wheezing sound or coughing.
This happened to our son many times. It's even scarier when you know they are NOT moving any air through their lungs!
The next page of the WebMd website states:
If you have an asthma attack that does not respond to your usual bronchodilator inhaler, this is considered to be a medical emergency. These severe attacks require immediate emergency care.
With severe asthma, they can go from bad to worse VERY QUICKLY. Make sure you understand when your doctor wants you to go to the emergency room or call an ambulance.
Severe asthma attacks may be rare, but they can and do happen.
Make sure you know what to do.