As a nurse, you must be acquaintance with Asthma since one of medical jobs is to treat asthma patients. Asthma can affect people in different stages of life, yet it can be avoided and treated. Even though, nowadays, the development of improved medications and management plans is sufficient enough, the death rate from the disease continues to rise and there are some factors that influence the development of asthma, such as follows:
- Allergy: Allergy is the strongest predisposing factor for asthma
- Chronic exposure to airway irritants: Irritants can be seasonal (grass, tree, and weed pollens) or perennial (mold, dust, roaches, animal dander).
- Exercise: doing a heavy sport can also cause asthma
- Stress/ Emotional upset: This can trigger constriction of the airway leading to asthma
- Medications: Certain medications can trigger asthma
If anyone suffers from asthma, they will get several symptoms, such as follows:
- Cough: The most common symptoms of asthma.
- Dyspnea: Dyspnea occurs as the result of general tightness.
- Wheezing: There may be wheezing, first on expiration, and then possibly during inspiration as well.
- Asthma attacks frequently occur at night or in the early morning
- An asthma exacerbation is frequently preceded by increasing symptoms over days, but it may begin abruptly.
- Expiration requires effort and becomes prolonged.
- As exacerbation progresses, central cyanosis secondary to severe hypoxia may occur.
Since it can affect people from any age, knowing how to prevent this illness can be handy. Patients with recurrent asthma should take test to identify the substances that precipitate the symptoms.
- Allergens: avoiding contact with allergens, either seasonal or perennial whenever possible.
- Knowledge: Knowledge is the key to quality asthma care.
- Evaluation: Evaluation of impairment and risk are key in the control.
As a nurse, you need to know the history of allergic reactions to medications before administering medications, then monitoring the severity of symptoms, breath sounds, peak flow, pulse oximetry, and vital signs. Moreover, a nurse should know what kind of medications that the patient is currently taking.
Assessment of a patient with asthma includes the following:
- Assess the patient’s respiratory status by monitoring the severity of the symptoms.
- Assess for breath sounds
- Assess the patient’s peak flow
- Assess the level of oxygen saturation through the pulse oximeter
- Monitor the patient’s vital signs