Asthma Attack First Aid

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Asthma. If you have someone that’s
having an asthma attack it’s incredibly frightening. So, reassure them. The calmer you are the
calmer they will remain. If they start getting stressed, their airways will become tighter, and it will become harder
for them to breathe. If they have their blue inhaler, that is the one they should be using during an asthma attack. It’s nearly always blue. It may look slightly different to this, but it’s the blue one
that is the one they need that will dilate their airways if they’re having an attack. The other ones tend to
be preventer inhalers. So, calm as they can, you
probably want them to sit down in whatever position they find is easiest for them to breathe. But, usually an upright
position is the best position if they’re short of breath. They would shake their inhaler, they would remove the cap, they’d breathe out, and then then they would
put it in their mouth and breathe in at the same time as pressing and delivering the dose. Hold it, and take it out, and then they should,
for mild asthma attacks, start to feel better quite quickly. They may need a couple of doses. If it’s a more severe attack, then they’re likely to need
to do that a couple of times, every minute, for up to about 10 doses. And if they are getting worse, or they’re not getting better, you should phone an ambulance. And you should keep the
paramedics or the ambulance aware of the condition of the casualty and whether they’re getting
any better or worse. If they have been prescribed a spacer, then a spacer is an easier
way to deliver the dose. The coordination involved
in using an inhaler the usual way is quite considerable. What they need to do is push and breathe in at the same time, and if they’re fighting for breath, that’s incredibly difficult. And also, the cold spray
on the back of the throat can make them cough. So, a spacer makes it much easier. Sometimes they look like this. This is the sort of cheapest and most widely available variety, but there’s lots of other
nicer-looking spacers around. So, what they would do then
is pop the inhaler in here, they would deliver a couple of doses, and then they would literally
just breathe in and out through the spacer and
get the dose that way with no additionally
coordination involved. And that’s been shown to
be a far more effective way of delivering the dose. So, if they’ve been prescribed a spacer, then they should be using their inhaler during an attack with the
spacer if that’s possible.

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