Experiencing Shortness Of Breath? Steps You Should Take

Posted on: 26 September 2018

One of the health symptoms you may experience that should never be ignored is shortness of breath. If you have recently begun to struggle with feeling short of breath or as if you cannot get a deep breath no matter how hard you try, get to know some of the steps you should take when this happens. With this knowledge, you will be able to ensure that you are protecting your health and well-being as well as addressing your shortness of breath in the best way possible.

Use Your Emergency Inhaler If You Have One

If you are asthmatic, the first step you should take when you are experiencing any shortness of breath that is not situational (i.e. not from aerobic exercise or the like) is to use your emergency inhaler. Even if you do not feel like you are having a full-blown asthma attack, it is a good idea to take a few puffs on your emergency or rescue inhaler.

When you use your inhaler, if you notice a difference in how you are feeling, take it again in the recommended four to six hours. However, if it does not make any difference in how your breathing feels, you will need to take other steps.

Go to an Urgent Healthcare Center

Rescue inhalers are designed to be used in a situation in which you have an acute asthma attack. If they do not work, it is likely that you are either having a severe asthma episode or you have something else entirely going on. Because of this, your next step after trying an emergency inhaler should be to go to a healthcare center.

At an urgent care center, a doctor will examine you by listening to your breathing and checking your vital signs. The doctor may also have you do a peak flow meter test. This test indicates your expiration (exhale) rate which can determine the overall health of your respiration.

Other tests may be necessary to determine what is causing your shortness of breath including blood tests, x-rays of your chest, and more. Chest x-rays can look for signs of pneumonia while blood tests can help to determine whether or not you have an infection that is causing your shortness of breath.

If any major abnormalities are found with your lungs, the urgent care center may refer you to a hospital for more extensive scans like a CT or MRI to get a better look at your lungs. Otherwise, if a cause of your symptoms is found with the preliminary tests, your urgent care doctor can prescribe you medications to help you regain your ability to breathe comfortably.

Now that you know some of the steps that you should take when you are feeling short of breath, you can start taking care of your health as soon as possible.