Open Accessibility Menu


Approximately 20 million US adults and 5.1 million children have asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. If you’re under a doctor’s care for asthma or breathing problems, you can likely manage the disease at home. However, if you have an emergency, call 911 or visit an emergency room immediately.

Legacy ER & Urgent Care has ER-trained physicians at our six emergency room and urgent care facilities. Visit one of our locations if you have an emergency related to asthma or breathing problems.

Asthma Symptoms – When to Seek Medical Help

asthmaYou need to contact your healthcare provider if you have the following asthma symptoms:

  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Problems doing routine activities
  • Persistent coughing
  • Wheezing when breathing
  • Wheezing that worsens after taking asthma medication

When to Call 911 or Visit the ER

Your asthma symptoms could escalate to a medical emergency. Call 911 or visit an emergency room if you experience the following:

  • Blueish nails or lips
  • Flaring nostrils when in-taking air
  • Symptoms not improving or reappearing quickly after taking medication
  • Skin that appears stretched at the base of the throat or between the ribs when inhaling
  • Taking 30 or more breaths a minute
  • Difficulty walking or talking
  • Breathing problems

Is It Breathing Problems or Asthma?

If you are experiencing breathing problems, it could be asthma or another condition. Other possibilities include:

  • Gastrointestinal reflux disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Heart failure
  • Viral infections

Breathing problems should always be taken seriously, so visit the ER if you have trouble breathing. The ER physician can diagnose the source of your breathing problems so you can get treatment.

Diagnosing Asthma

If you come to the emergency room with breathing problems, your doctor will need to determine if you have asthma. Diagnosing asthma is a three-step process.

Your doctor must:

  • Take a personal and medical history
  • Conduct a physical exam
  • Conduct lung function tests

Asthma Treatment

There is not a cure for asthma, so the condition will not go away. However, the proper treatment will allow you to manage your symptoms, thus limiting breathing problems.

Quick-relief medications, including asthma inhalers, relieve symptoms immediately. You can take the medication as soon as you notice any symptoms. Long-term asthma control medicines are also typically prescribed. This type of asthma medication addresses the changes to your airways, reducing the risk of another attack.

If you have severe or persistent asthma, your doctor might treat it with biologics. Biologics prevent swelling in the airways, making it easier to breathe. You’ll receive biologics via an infusion or injection. Asthma and breathing problems are frightening, so don’t try to handle them on your own.

If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911. We can also help you at Legacy ER & Urgent Care.