An asthma attack can be triggered by nothing (that we know of) and by stress, among other things. The last time I had a major attack, I was on the phone with the IRS. I felt it coming.
Tightness in the throat and the feeling that you have to cough, and cough, and cough.
There are different kinds of inhalers for different degrees of the disease. By the following day I was using a machine. Puffs from small inhalers weren't enough. Nothing worked and things continued downhill.
I couldn't walk across a room or even get dressed or wash my face without panting. With asthma, you can breathe in. The problem is breathing out. It gets constricted and tighter and tighter.
I called an ambulance and was taken to the ER. In addition to inhalers, they gave me steroids. The first time I was hospitalized with an attack, I was given steroids intravenously for nine days. The second time I was given steroids orally.
I keep steroid pills in the house for emergencies. But I don't carry them with me. I doubt that anyone does. I do carry an inhaler with me.
I hope this helps. If you need more info or more details, please let me know.