An asthma attack is also known as an asthma exacerbation. An asthma attack can be a terrifying experience. It can feel as if someone is sitting on your chest or there’s a cloud in your lungs. You struggle to draw in a full breath. Your chest tightens. Your breathing quickens. It feels, as one asthma sufferer put it, “like you’re drowning in air.” The duration of an attack can vary, depending on what caused it and how long the airways have been inflamed. Mild episodes may last only a few minutes; more severe ones can last from hours to days. Mild attacks can resolve spontaneously or may require medication, typically a quick-acting inhaler. More severe asthma attacks can be shortened with appropriate treatment.