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When should I go to the emergency room (ER) for an asthma attack?

Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if the person’s breathing trouble does not improve in a few minutes after using the quick-relief medication.

Worsening asthma symptoms need a quick appointment with the doctor. But if your symptoms become severe, don't hesitate to seek emergency care. The following are signs of a potentially life-threatening breathing situation:

  • Severe difficulty breathing (flared nostrils, using chest muscles to breathe, etc.)
  • Blue lips or fingernails
  • Extreme difficulty walking or talking
  • Lack of relief from quick-relief medications
  • Peak flow readings below 50 percent of your personal best

Call 911 or seek emergency room care if you ever experience any of these symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.