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. Five 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.
What Are The Symptoms
You may have any of the following:
Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, or fast breathing
Trouble doing normal activities, such as exercising, playing sports, or doing chores that involve lifting
Fingers or lips turning blue or gray
A peak flow rate less than 80 percent of your personal best
Tightness in your chest
Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
Signs that you may be having an asthma attack include:
- your symptoms are getting worse
- your reliever inhaler is not helping
- youâre too breathless to speak, eat or sleep
- your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you cannot catch your breath
- your peak flow score is lower than normal
- children may also complain of a tummy or chest ache
The symptoms will not necessarily occur suddenly. In fact, they often come on slowly over a few hours or days.
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How Do You Stop An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler
If you are diagnosed with asthma, you should make sure you have an inhaler with you at all times. However, if a worst case scenario occurs and you experience when you dont have a reliever inhaler with you, there are practical steps you can take to ease your symptoms.
- Stay as calm as you can find a way to reduce any anxiety, such as holding someones hand or playing music
- Sit upright this will help keep your airways open
- Breathe slowly and deeply slowing down your breathing can reduce the risk of hyperventilating
- If something appears to have triggered your asthma, such as breathing in cold air or being exposed to smoke, move away from the trigger
- Try breathing exercises the pursed lip breathing technique can help you deal with shortness of breath
- Have a drink containing caffeine there is some evidence to suggest that caffeine can help improve airway function for up to four hours.
Asthma can be a life-threatening condition, so at the very least, aim to keep a spare reliever inhaler in your handbag, locker at work or coat pocket.
How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Asthma
Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, including information about your parents and siblings. Your provider will also ask you about your symptoms. Your provider will need to know any history of allergies, eczema and other lung diseases.
Your healthcare provider may order a chest X-ray, blood test or skin test. Your provider may order spirometry. This test measures airflow through your lungs.
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The Normal Respiratory System
To understand what happens in asthma you need to be familiar with the normal breathing system and how the lungs and airways are arranged.
Normally, air entering through the mouth and nose travels through the main airway through a series of smaller branching airways called bronchi. The bronchi divide up into even smaller airways called bronchioles, which end in millions of tiny air sacs called alveoli.
When air enters the alveoli, the oxygen it contains passes through the thin membrane covering each sac into surrounding blood vessels. The oxygen attaches itself to red blood cells which then circulate around the body, releasing the oxygen into the body tissues.
What happens during an asthma attack?
What Types Of Asthma Are There
Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma can be:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
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Care Advice For Asthma Attack
What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack
A severe asthma attack needs immediate medical care. The first step is your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than your normal maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should only use the rescue inhaler in an emergency.
If your rescue inhaler doesnt help or you dont have it with you, go to the emergency department if you have:
- Anxiety or panic.
- Bluish fingernails, bluish lips or gray or whitish lips or gums .
- Chest pain or pressure.
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How Is Asthma Treated
Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you and stay away from things that can trigger an attack to control your asthma.
Everyone with asthma does not take the same medicine.
You can breathe in some medicines and take other medicines as a pill. Asthma medicines come in two typesquick-relief and long-term control. Quick-relief medicines control the symptoms of an asthma attack. If you need to use your quick-relief medicines more and more, visit your doctor to see if you need a different medicine. Long-term control medicines help you have fewer and milder attacks, but they dont help you while you are having an asthma attack.
Asthma medicines can have side effects, but most side effects are mild and soon go away. Ask your doctor about the side effects of your medicines.
Remember you can control your asthma. With your doctors help, make your own asthma action plan. Decide who should have a copy of your plan and where he or she should keep it. Take your long-term control medicine even when you dont have symptoms.
Acute Asthma Attack Symptoms
An acute asthma attack is a medical emergency youll must seek immediate medical help and go to hospital.
Acute asthma attack symptoms to be aware of include:
- Rapid breathing that doesnt ease with use of a reliever inhaler
- Extreme shortness of breath being unable to inhale or exhale fully
- An inability to speak in full sentences
- Confusion or agitation
- Developing a blue tint on the face, lips or fingernails.
If you dont seek treatment for an acute asthma attack, your life could be in danger. Find out more about acute asthma by reading our guide to severe asthma.
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What To Do If You Are With Someone Having An Asthma Attack
It can be very frightening to watch ;someone having an asthma attack.; They may be wheezing, or struggling for breath and panicking that they cannot get enough air. In severe attacks, their lips and ear lobes may go blue.;People ;describe an asthma attack ;as if they were breathing through a straw, or even in some cases as if suffocating, choking or drowning. They described struggling or fighting for air. One young man said it felt as though hed lost half his lungs, as though the air is only going down half way and hes only getting half the air that he needs.
If you are with someone who is having an attack, especially children, ; you need to stay calm, hard as it might be, because panic makes the breathing even harder.; You need to reassure them that everything will be fine and then try to find their inhaler if they have one, and help them sit upright in a comfortable position.
Asthma is a condition that is caused by an allergic reaction in the lungs, this is often a substance such as dust, traffic fumes or animal hair.;; The muscles that surround the wind pipes in the lungs go into spasm and constrict which makes breathing difficult.
For more information about Asthma go to:
Safe and Sound cover Asthma in its first aid courses. For more information go to: www.safeandsound.uk.net
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 4 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
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Tips For When You Dont Have An Inhaler
Mild to moderate asthma attacks can occur at inopportune times. You may be able to manage your asthma more effectively with these tips. If these dont work CALL AN AMBULANCE.
How To Avoid Asthma Triggers
If you know what your asthma triggers are, then where possible, its beneficial to try to avoid them.
If theres a particular allergen culprit you know of, then keeping your home clean and dust-free can help. For example, you could consider swapping carpets for wooden floors to reduce the amount of dust build-up or hiring a cleaner so youre not personally exposed to dust when cleaning.
It can be more difficult to avoid asthma triggers completely when youre at work, especially if your asthma is occupational and linked to your working environment. In an ideal world, you could simply change jobs to something more suitable for your health, but in reality this isnt always feasible.
Let your employer or the HR department know about your asthma. You should be able to discuss the options available for optimising your work environment to be more suitable to your needs.
Keeping on top of your asthma management plan, working alongside your doctor or asthma nurse and making sure you take your inhalers or other asthma medications should help to control your symptoms. Making practical lifestyle choices is important too, like eating healthily, exercising and not smoking.
It can also be beneficial to learn an asthma breathing technique. There are various breathing techniques that can help asthma and knowing how to breathe properly could help if something unexpectedly triggers an attack.
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What Should I Do If I See Someone Having An Asthma Attack
- Sit them up straight dont let them lie down. Try to keep calm.
- Get the person to take one puff of their reliever inhaler every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
- If they feel worse at any point while using the inhaler or if they dont feel better after 10 puffs, call 999 for an ambulance.
- If the ambulance is taking longer than 15 minutes repeat step 2.
- If the sufferers heart stops beating, then you need to administer CPR until the ambulance arrives.
Asthma Signs & Symptoms
People with asthma experience symptoms due to inflammation in the airways. They might only occur when you encounter an asthma trigger. Common symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of asthma include:
- Persistent or recurring coughing: which often occurs at night or early in the morning, although it can happen at any time. Coughing is a major feature of asthma, especially in children and can sometimes be the only sign of asthma.
- Wheezing: is difficulty breathing accompanied by a whistling sound coming from your airways
- Shortness of breath: gives you the feeling that you cant get enough air into your lungs, and may even find it difficult to eat, sleep or speak
- Chest tightness: an unpleasant sensation of heaviness or pressure in the chest that can make it hard to breathe
- Increased mucus production: is characterized by high levels of thick fluid or phlegm accumulating in your airways
- Difficulty breathing while exercising: having trouble breathing while performing physical activities can be a sign of asthma
- Losing Sleep: Being unable to sleep through the night because of breathing troubles
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Use An Albuterol Inhaler
“The first-line treatment for an asthma attack is an inhaler,” says Madsen. If you have severe asthma, it may be helpful to carry your rescue inhaler with you at all times so you’re prepared in the event of an asthma attack. People commonly carry their inhaler in their purse, backpack, or pocket.
Quick-acting or “rescue” inhalers generally contain albuterol, a medication that helps to open up your airway. Taking a puff of albuterol should quickly relieve symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath.
If you are still experiencing asthma symptoms after taking your inhaler, you can take albuterol one more time after 20 minutes. But if you are still feeling extreme shortness of breath after the second treatment, you should go to an urgent care clinic or see your doctor immediately.
Small children, who may have trouble using inhalers, can also take albuterol using a nebulizer, a machine that uses a plastic tube with a mouthpiece to deliver medication in the form of a mist.
If your symptoms are so severe that you are unable to talk due to breathlessness, or your lips or face turn slightly blue, you should get medical help immediately.
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 dont 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.;;
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