Advice For Friends And Family
It’s important that your friends and family know how to help in an emergency.
It can be useful to make copies of your personal asthma action plan and share it with others who may need to know what to do when you have an attack.
You can photocopy your existing plan, or you could download a blank personal asthma action plan from Asthma UK and fill it in for anyone who might need a copy.
Or you could take a photo of your action plan on your phone, so you can show or send it to others easily.
Page last reviewed: 19 April 2021 Next review due: 19 April 2024
Two: Administer Asthma First Aid
If youre with someone whos having an asthma attack and has an inhaler but cant manage to use it, help them by:
- Removing the inhaler cap and shaking the device well, then inserting the spacer if the inhaler has one
- Having the distressed person breathe out completely before putting their mouth tightly around the mouthpiece
- Pressing the inhaler once to deliver a single puff
- Encouraging the person to breathe slowly through the mouth, then hold their breath for 10 seconds
- Repeating the above action three times, about a minute apart
Natural Remedies For Asthma
Many things get credit for being natural asthma remedies. But because studies on complementary and alternative treatments for asthma have been limited, itâs not clear how safe and effective all of them are.
These natural remedies have been studied:
. This traditional Chinese treatment involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. While some people with say acupuncture eases their symptoms, thereâs little proof that it works as an asthma treatment.
Biofeedback. Learning to control your heart rate may help you manage your asthma, but more studies are needed to confirm a benefit.
Herbs and natural dietary supplements. Many people use herbs, plants, and , especially Chinese herbs, to treat asthma. Itâs not clear how well many of them work. More research is needed on supplements like and fish oil . But vitamins C, D, and E may help lower your risk of symptoms.
Plant-based diet. Several studies have found benefits for people with asthma who follow the Mediterranean diet.It involves lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like olive oil. You eat more fatty and poultry than red meat. Experts think this diet helps with asthma symptoms because it helps fight in your body. A similar eating plan called DASH may also improve asthma control.
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Minimizing Environmental Asthma Triggers At Home And Work
You can take measures to keep your home asthma-friendly by identifying and minimizing common indoor asthma triggers, such as pet dander, mold, dust mites, chemical irritants , and cigarette smoke, advises the Environmental Protection Agency. Some smart strategies for managing asthma triggers include designating pet-free zones in the house , washing bedding and mopping and vacuuming frequently , and putting dust-mite covers on pillows and mattresses.
If youre experiencing asthma symptoms at work, speak with your supervisor and coworkers to try to identify the triggers it could be anything from moldy carpets to dust to industrial cleaning chemicals and then figure out a way to minimize your exposure.
Professional Advice On How To Handle An Asthma Attack
Asthma can range from mild to life threatening. It can be common to panic when faced with such an intimidating condition. If you are armed with sound knowledge about asthma then you will feel more confident about handling asthma related decisions. The information below can prepare you to handle asthma with confidence.
Your asthma should be well under control to prevent attacks. The fact is that maintenance and prevention are the best ways to avoid crisis. Having a working relationship with your doctor or specialist will keep you on top of your symptoms and on the medication that works with your specific needs.
A great tip that can help you get over an asthma attack is to try drinking a few cups of coffee. Coffee can help when youre having an asthma attack because the caffeine opens up the airways. With your airways opened, youll be able to breathe much better.
To make sure youre getting the most out of your inhaler, hold your breath for 3-5 seconds each time you puff. This will give you time to inhale the medication deeply into your lungs so that it can take effect quickly. Once you have finished holding your breath be sure to exhale slowly.
If you suffer from asthma, it is vital that you avoid smoking if you do, you should quit. Smoking is not recommended for anyone, but it creates worse complications for asthma patients by cutting off part of the oxygen supply needed to breathe properly.
How Can I Prevent And Treat Asthma Symptoms
There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed. There are two steps to controlling asthma: taking medicines and avoiding or limiting asthma triggers.
To prevent asthma symptoms:
- Avoid or limit contact with your asthma triggers andallergens. Use AAFAs Healthier Home Checklist to identify asthma triggers and allergens in your home and make your indoor environment healthier.
- Get vaccinated. Respiratory infections like colds and the flu can worsen asthma. Get a flu vaccine every year. Keep your lungs healthy by getting other vaccinations as recommended.
- Create an Asthma Action Plan with your doctor. Follow it when you have symptoms. If you are having trouble staying in the Green/Go Zone, your asthma may not be well-controlled. Talk with your doctor about your treatment plan.
- Take your asthma medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribed a medicine to control your asthma, take it as directed. This may be as needed or every day. Follow your Asthma Action Plan.
- Take care of your general health. It can be hard to take care of your health but doing so can help you better manage asthma. Try to get plenty of sleep and exercise. Eat healthy foods as much as possible, stay hydrated, and find ways to manage stress.
To treat sudden asthma symptoms:
Asthma Medicines: Control and Quick-Relief or a Combination
Asthma What It Is And How To Help If Someone Is Having An Asthma Attack
We all know people who have asthma. However, very few of us would know what to do if someone close by started to have a serious asthma attack and was struggling to breathe. Read on to find out what asthma is, what may trigger it and how to help someone having an asthma attack.
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After An Asthma Attack: Changing Your Asthma Management Or Asthma Attack Treatment
After an asthma attack evaluation, your doctor may want to step up treatment, step down treatment, change treatment, or increase your doctor visits, said Bernstein.
Some signs that your treatment plan may need to change include:
- Frequent asthma attacks
- Needing to take more asthma medication than prescribed
- Waking up at night with asthma symptoms
- Daytime activity limited by asthma
- Continued cough, congestion, and mucous production
- Poor peak flow rates
Knowing what to do after an asthma attack is part of learning how to manage your asthma. Each asthma attack is a chance to learn more about your asthma triggers and your asthma medications. Sharing this information with your doctor gives you and your doctor the opportunity to make the right adjustments to your asthma action plan â and that could mean fewer asthma attacks in your future.
Consult With A Pediatrician
Consult with a pediatrician and develop a written action plan to prevent asthma attacks in your children. The plan will include a list of asthma instructions and medications on when and how the child should use them. Taking preventive measures can prevent an attack. Write down all the symptoms that appear, detailing the severity, when it happened, and how long it lasted.
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Why Does My Asthma Act Up At Night
Asthma can get worse at night. If you have symptoms at night, it’s called nighttime asthma. This is often a sign of uncontrolled asthma. It probably has to do with natural body rhythms and changes in your body’s hormones. With the right asthma management and treatment, you should be able to sleep through the night.
Signs That You Need To Use Asthma First Aid
If you are experiencing any of the following signs, start asthma first aid. Do not wait until asthma is severe.
Mild to moderate asthma signs :
- able to talk in full sentences
- able to walk or move around
- may have a cough or wheeze.
Severe asthma signs :
- cannot speak a full sentence in one breath
- tugging of the skin between ribs or at base of neck
- may have cough or wheeze
- reliever medication not lasting as long as usual.
Life-threatening asthma signs :
- getting little or no relief from reliever inhaler
- may no longer have wheeze or cough.
In asthma emergencies, follow your asthma action plan.
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What Are The Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
The most common symptoms include:
Mild to Severe
- Disrupted sleep due to asthma symptoms & breathing difficulty
- Daytime symptoms 2 or more times per week
- Inability to exercise normally without breathing issues
- Getting a cold/flu
If you experience any of the above symptoms, book an urgent appointment with your healthcare provider. An asthma attack could be on its way. The timely help can prevent dangerous consequences.
- Excessive cough, wheeze and chest tightness
- Difficulty speaking due to asthma
- Experiencing shortness of breath at rest
- Lips or nail beds turning blue
- Reliever medication isnt helping
What Is An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms caused by the tightening of muscles around your airways. This tightening is called a bronchospasm. During the asthma attack, the lining of the airways also becomes swollen or inflamed and thicker mucus — more than normal — is produced. All of these factors — bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production — cause symptoms of an asthma attack such as trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty performing normal daily activities. Other symptoms of an asthma attack can include:
- Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
- Coughing that won’t stop
- Worsening symptoms despite use of your medications
if you have any of these symptoms.
Some people with asthma may go for extended periods without having an asthma attack or other symptoms, interrupted by periodic worsening of their symptoms due to exposure to asthma triggers such as exercise or exposure to cold air.
Mild asthma attacks are generally more common. Usually, the airways open up within a few minutes to a few hours after treatment. Severe asthma attacks are less common but last longer and require immediate medical help. It is important to recognize and treat even mild symptoms of an asthma attack to help you prevent severe episodes and keep asthma under control.
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What To Do During An Asthma Attack
Thanks to advances in treatment options, asthma attacks are rarer than they once were. But unfortunately, some people still experience them. Heres what to do in an emergency:
Even if symptoms improve after these steps, encourage the person to call his or her doctor to discuss additional treatments or changes to the current treatment regimen, the AAFP suggests.
Finally, recognize when your actions arent enough. If the steps in the emergency plan arent working, or if there is no plan, consider going to an urgent care center or calling an ambulance immediately. The sooner, the better, Ruiz-Huidobro says. You have no way of treating it, and asthma attacks usually dont just go away on their own.
What To Do After An Asthma Attack:
One in six people who receive treatment at the hospital needs emergency treatment again within two weeks. Asthma attacks are not normal and you should not tolerate them.
Take the following key steps to prevent you having another attack in the future:
- Book an urgent appointment with your healthcare provider
- Keep taking your asthma medication as prescribed
- Take the rest of the day to recover after the attack
It is important to know that the majority of severe asthma episodes can be avoided by having good asthma control.
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Follow Your Asthma Action Plan
An asthma action plan is a personalized care plan that details what you should do in the event your asthma is getting worse or results in an attack. Your doctor will have discussed this plan with you, and it is important that you follow your protocol for best results.
If youve suffered from asthma for a while, chances are youve got your action plan committed to memory. However, having a copy of it in your bag or wallet, or saved on your phone, can help you remember what to do if you begin to panic. It also can help others who may be around you guide you through the steps in your plan.
Despite your best efforts, some asthma attacks may just be too much for you to handle on your own.
How To Help In An Asthma Attack
If someone is having an asthma attack, always follow the instructions outlined on their medication. However, if they do not have them to hand, these are the steps to follow. These guidelines are suitable for both children and adults.
Be calm and reassuring as reducing the stress and keeping the casualty calm really helps them to control their symptoms. Panic can increase the severity of an attack. Take one to two puffs of the reliever inhaler , immediately using a spacer device if available.
- Stay as calm as you can and encourage them to stay calm too
- Sit them down, loosen any tight clothing and encourage them to take slow, steady breaths.
- If they do not start to feel better, they should take more puffs of their reliever inhaler
- If they do not start to feel better after taking their inhaler as above, or if you are worried at any time, call 999/112.
- They should keep taking the reliever inhaler whilst waiting for the paramedics to arrive
- If the person has been prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector and you suspect the asthma attack may be due to an allergic reaction and the reliever inhaler is not working administer the AAI. Give this injection into the upper, outer part of their thigh according to the instructions. If worried in any way, check with the emergency services and keep them informed and updated as to the casualtys condition.
DO NOT take them outside for fresh air if it is cold as cold air makes symptoms worse.
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Learn First Aid For Someone Who Is Having An Asthma Attack
1. Help the person sit in a comfortable position and take their inhaler.
When someone has an asthma attack, their airways narrow, making it difficult for them to breathe. An inhaler relaxes the muscles, allowing the airways to expand and ease their breathing.
2. Reassure the person. If the attack becomes severe, or they don’t have their inhaler, call 999 as soon as possible.
A mild attack should ease within a few minutes. If it doesnt, they can continue to take their inhaler. You should call 999 if they they dont have their inhaler, their inhaler has no effect, they are becoming worse or they become unable to talk. Do not leave them, in case the attack becomes severe quickly. If you cant call 999, get someone else to do it.
What Types Of Asthma Are There
Asthma is broken down into types based on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Healthcare providers identify asthma as:
- Intermittent: This type of asthma comes and goes so you can feel normal in between asthma flares.
- Persistent: Persistent asthma means you have symptoms much of the time. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have symptoms. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma has multiple causes:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Allergens include things like molds, pollens and pet dander.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
Asthma can also be:
- Adult-onset: This type of asthma starts after the age of 18.
- Pediatric: Also called childhood asthma, this type of asthma often begins before the age of 5, and can occur in infants and toddlers. Children may outgrow asthma. You should make sure that you discuss it with your provider before you decide whether your child needs to have an inhaler available in case they have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
In addition, there are these types of asthma:
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What To Do In An Asthma Attack:
1. Sit up straight
2. Take your reliever medication as directed. Use your Asthma Action Plan for reference.
3. Call 911 if your symptoms persist or worsen. Do this if you feel worse at any point or if there is no improvement after taking your medication.
4. Follow-up with your doctor or healthcare provider
An asthma attack can be a life-threatening emergency thats why you should always carry your reliever inhaler with you and never hesitate to call 911 if your symptoms persist.