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Why did my wife have such a severe asthma attack?

Q: My 41 years old wife had a severe asthma attack two months back. She had to be put on ventilator for thirteen days. She has been administered with Vancomycin injection course. Now the doctor is saying that she needs a lungs function test. Can you please tell me what my wife is suffering from? To add, she is an asthmatic for the last 20 years and uses asthma inhaler. But this was the first time that she had such a severe attack.

A:Your wife has had asthma for a long time and was not on preventive treatment. Salbutamol is only a temporary reliever. She had a life threatening asthma attack which may have been precipitated by a severe allergy or infection. The right thing to do is to keep her on a regular preventive inhaler which has a combination of steroid and long acting beta2 agonist lifelong. Once she is stable she should get her lung function test done to confirm that her lungs have reached a stable state. Then her treatment can be tapered down but only under supervision of an expert. She should remain on the minimum maintenance dose lifelong.

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