To be honest, the asthma attack is not over, and it's been going on for two months. It's better, but not under control. At first, it was blamed on a severe sinus infection, but that's been cleared up for weeks. No, the answer is not just my lungs. It's also my emotions.

About five months ago, our eldest daughter, aged 26, disappeared. As she's an adult, very little can be done to find her, as most officials state that she's of an age to do what she wants. That's true. It's also painful. I was warned of the potential of my asthma going out of control, and it sure did. Hopefully, what I've gone through can help you.

1) Know of the possibility . That has probably saved my life. If you know that an event or emotional problem is likely to create physical problems, prepare. Make sure all your needed prescriptions are up to date … and know where they are. After four years with zero attacks, I could not even find my old inhaler. That's probably good, as these things do expire.

2) Know the symptoms : I have never had an attack like this one. The cough appeared to be coming from my toes. Mostly, I just get chest tightness and a strangling sensation. Ask your doctor if the symptoms are likely to change or intensify, and what to look out for. The sooner you realize what's wrong, the faster you can get it under control. The longer you wait, the harder it will be.

3) Know When to Get Help : Your doctor can help you with this. A peak flow meter can be a good guide, but there are also symptoms to watch for. If your skin, lips or nails start to turn blue, you need immediate help. If you are coughing so much it's hard to breathe, you need immediate help. These are emerging. Any time you find it difficult to breathe, it's time to be concerned.

4) Understand your Inhalers : You have to follow the instructions on your inhalers exactly. Your rescue inhaler can not be used more than a certain number of times per day, usually limited to two puffs twice a day. If you need to use it more than twice a week (let alone twice a day), your asthma is not under control.

Your maintenance inhaler has to be used exactly as prescribed. It will not help you during an active attack, its job is to keep you from developing one. If you do not use it properly, it will not do you much good.

Asthma is a serious disease that can have deadly consequences. If you've been diagnosed with it, you need to learn as many facts as you can about it. Talk to your doctor, especially if you have questions. He or she can help you avoid further problems.