Status asthmaticus is a severe asthma attack that does not respond to the usual treatment. Status asthmaticus is a medical emergency.
Asthma is a chronic (long-lasting) lung disease. It causes symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Asthma symptoms are caused by two different problems in the airways.
Asthma may be mild, moderate, or severe.
If your child has asthma, symptoms often start after your child is exposed to a trigger. Asthma triggers can include:
Children whose asthma is not well controlled are most at risk for status asthmaticus.
Symptoms may include:
Coughing and wheezing are common symptoms of asthma. However someone with status asthmaticus may not have enough airflow to be able to cough or wheeze.
The symptoms may develop over several days or weeks, or a severe attack may happen quickly.
A healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Your child will also have tests to measure the oxygen in the blood.
Children with status asthmaticus need to be hospitalized. Some children need to be treated in a pediatric intensive care unit.
Your child will be given oxygen to increase blood oxygen levels. This is usually given through a face mask. Rarely a child will need a breathing tube inserted into their windpipe to help get air into the lungs. Your child will be treated with an inhaled or IV medicine to open the airways. Your child will receive steroid medicines and other medicines to reduce swelling and irritation, relax muscle spasms, and prevent mucus buildup.
Status asthmaticus is very serious, and you need learn what triggers are most severe for your child. It is important to avoid these triggers if at all possible and to get care quickly if you cannot avoid them.