What to do when Asthma Attacks

What to do when Asthma Attacks

Sarah McLoughlin
Posted by Sarah McLoughlin

Date: Friday, 02 March 2018. -  
Blog, First Aid, First Aid Emergencies

With the cold and stormy weather we are experiencing, people will become affected in a number of different ways. Commuters may struggle to get to work for instance, and it is likely that asthma sufferers will be affected by the extreme weather conditions.

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways of the lungs, causing them to tighten and go into spasm, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma attacks can be triggered by allergies, stress, exercise, colds and changes in temperature. 

Asthma attacks claim the lives of three people in the UK each day which could potentially be avoided. We share the steps you can take to help someone experiencing an asthma attack to avoid further deaths from occurring as a result.

Symptoms of an Asthma Attack

There are certain signs to look out for that will indicate that someone is having an asthma attack. They include:

  • Wheezy breathing
  • Coughing
  • Tight chest
  • Signs of distress
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Struggling to speak
  • Worsening symptoms

These symptoms will not usually occur suddenly. They are more likely to come on slowly over a longer period of time, ranging from a few hours to a few days.

What to do if an Asthma Attack occurs

If you think you are having an asthma attack and you are alone, you should try to take slow and steady breaths, remaining as calm as possible so you do not make things worse. Call 999 if you do not improve and start to become worried at any point.

If you witness someone having an asthma attack, your presence may help to calm them down. You can further assist them by taking the following steps:

  1. Put the victim in the most comfortable position for them
  2. Ask them to use their reliever inhaler and take one or two puffs
  3. Calm and reassure the casualty that everything will be ok.
  4. Encourage them to take slow and steady breaths
  5. If there is no sign of improvement, call 999 or 112 for an ambulance

An asthma sufferer can have several different types of medication to help them manage their condition, for example, a preventer inhaler; red, brown or orange and a reliever inhaler; blue)

Avoid Attacks

For asthma sufferers, the occurrence of an asthma attack is almost inevitable from time to time. However, you can ensure the risk of having an asthma attack is reduced by following the personal asthma action plan, having reviews with your nurse or GP and avoiding things that will trigger symptoms. Ensuring friends and family members of asthma sufferers are aware of how to help is important in an emergency and they will be able to recognise symptoms if they get worse. If you have any other questions about what you can do when an asthma attack occurs, get in touch by tweeting us @imptraining