Handling An Asthma Attack:asthma first aid treatment

Published: 05th August 2010
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asthma affects many people and nothing is scarier than when you feel the power of an asthma attack. You might come across a person who is having an asthma attack as there are many things that can cause this. When you see a person who needs first aid treatment for asthma, you might find them trying to get some air. They might be wheezing as well. The first thing that you should do is to help the person to sit down in an upright position. You need to try not to panic. When you panic, you increase their breathing because they start panicking.

The next thing you need to do is to see if they have an inhaler. There are people who have asthma and have an emergency inhaler. If they don't have one, then you need to help them get their breathing under control. If they do have an inhaler, you need to get it for them and help them to get the puffs they need to help ease the hardships of breathing. Get them warm water and call 911 if you cannot get their asthma under control. The reason that warm water is considered as a part of first aid treatment for asthma is because of the fact that it won't shock the lungs. Cold water might shock the lungs and make it even harder for the person going through the asthma attack to breathe. The warm water will calm your lungs and soothe them so they can breathe easier.

You need to remove them from the thing that might have caused the initial trigger in the first place. If it was over exertion or something for the matter then this is all that you need to do as the trigger is over with and they are no longer in danger. While you are waiting for help to arrive, you need to keep the person who's in trouble calm. You need to watch that they don't go unconscious. If they do happen to go unconscious, then you need to feel for a pulse and check to see if they are breathing. If they aren't then you need to be ready to perform CPR.

Knowing what to do at a time like this can be very helpful. As we said, there are many people who have this. You never know when an asthma attack might hit. It's a very scary thing to go through so understanding first aid treatment for asthma might be a big thing for you as this disease becomes more and more popular among the nation. Just remember these things that we have taught you about first aid treatment for asthma and you should be fine.

asthma isn't something that you want to play with. If it goes untreated, a person can die. While there are many people who use inhalers, many times, they forget them or they fail to get them refilled once they run out. This is why you really need to be ready for whatever comes about and you can be prepared by learning how to help with giving first aid treatment for asthma.

Michael Morales is the program director for Vital Ethics. Vital Ethics provides basic and advanced life support certifiction programs

What Is an asthma Attack or Flare Up

An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of your asthma symptoms caused by narrowing of your airways or bronchoconstriction as a result of inflammation, swelling, and mucus. Both you and your child need to:

Understand The asthma Care Plan

Know Your Symptoms

Know Your Peak Flow

Know Your Medications

Recognize Early Warning Signs

Identify Indications For Emergency Care

Understand Your asthma Care Plan To Prevent An asthma Attack:

For anyone who has asthma, an asthma care plan is essential to prevent worsening of your symptoms and an asthma attack. The asthma care plan is your guide to determining how well your asthma is controlled and what actions need to be taken when asthma worsens or when you develop symptoms of an asthma attack. With your input, your doctor will develop your asthma care plan. Most plans have 3 components:

Stage of severity- identified by the peak expiratory flow rate

A list of symptoms to watch for

Specific actions to take based on peak flow or symptoms

Make sure you understand the plan and do not be afraid to ask questions. Make sure any other caregivers and his/ her school understand the asthma care plan as well.

Know Your asthma and asthma Attack Symptoms:

Everyone with asthma is different. Some people will have frequent attacks while others may go a long period between attacks. You need to monitor your asthma symptoms like chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chronic cough. The action plan that you and your child's healthcare provider have developed will list how to treat asthma symptoms.

Know Your Peak Flow:

A peak flow meter is the key to determining how your asthma is doing and preventing an asthma attack. It tells you how well you are breathing and its use is a key part of the asthma care plan.

If peak flow numbers are declining, your asthma is getting worse and you need to act quickly to prevent an asthma attack. You need to give medications based on the instructions in the asthma care plan to stop the symptoms from getting more severe and a full blown asthma attack.

Know Your Medications:

Understanding the purpose of each medication in the treatment of asthma is very important because some medications are designed for the acute relief of asthma symptoms and an asthma attack and some for the long term control of asthma. Taking a long-term beta agonist control medication during an acute asthma attack can actually lead to worsening of asthma.

The asthma care plan will outline which specific medications to take depending on peak flow and other symptoms.

Recognize Early Warning Signs Of Worsening asthma & an asthma Attack:

As the parent of a child with asthma or someone with asthma, it is very important that you recognize and treat the early warning signs of an asthma attack. Appropriate management early on in an asthma attack may prevent a trip to the ER, an admission to the hospital or worse. Generally, early warning signs of worsening asthma and an asthma attack include:

A drop in peak expiratory flow rate

Increased cough


Chest tightness

Some difficulty performing normal daily activities

Individual factors you notice over time that indicate worsening asthma or an asthma attack

You will likely be in the 'yellow zone' of the asthma care plan when developing these symptoms. Based on your asthma care plan, follow the instructions about taking extra doses of quick-relief medications and initiating other treatments like a course of oral corticosteroids. The asthma care plan will have instructions regarding how to proceed and when to call your doctor.

Most of the time when symptoms are identified and treated early, you will notice a prompt improvement in both peak flow and symptoms. However, you need to be prepared if your symptoms don't improve.

Make sure you discuss your asthma care plan with your health care provider. If you or your child is frequently needing to step up asthma treatment because of symptoms or worsening peak flows, or frequent asthma attacks, this is a sign of poor control and adjustments to the plan may be needed.

Identify Indications For Emergency Care:

One of the most important skills as a patient or parent of a child with asthma is to know when you need no longer treat asthma at home, call your doctor, or just head to the emergency department. All of the following symptoms are indications that you or your child needs to seek a healthcare provider for emergency care immediately:

Wheezing that occurs while breathing both in and out

Coughing that has become continuous

Difficulty breathing

Tachypnea or breathing very fast

Retractions where your skin is pulled in as you breath

Shortness of breath

Difficulty talking in complete sentences

Becoming pale

Becoming anxious

Blue lips or fingernails called cyanosis

If you or your child has any of these symptoms, they are in the 'red zone' of the asthma care plan and you should begin following those instructions immediately, which should also include seeing a healthcare provider. Make sure that you keep your emergency numbers and details of who to contact in an emergency situation in an easily identifiable place like the refrigerator or a bulletin board near your phone. It is also a good idea to carry this information with you.

Adult recommendations do not significantly differ for handling an acute asthma flare.

When you or your child's asthma is under control, you should be free of asthma symptoms and able to do most of normal activities. Prompt identification and action of an asthma attack and worsening asthma symptoms will prevent complications and frequent visits to the emergency department.

People suffering from asthma have extra-sensitive airways. They have to take certain precautions and lead a certain lifestyle. Despite these precautions, a patient may still go into an asthmatic fit.

Even if you are not asthmatic yourself, who knows you may have an asthma patient near you, in your house, on the road or at your workplace? If you are aware of the first aid steps required for an asthma patient, it may prove very beneficial for someone some day and perhaps save his life.

Knowing the following basic first aid steps will sure help an asthma patient in case he has an attack:

1) Make the person sit upright in a comfortable position. Speak calmly and be reassuring.

2) Use the person's own inhaler if possible. If not, use the first aid kit inhaler or borrow from someone else. Give 4 puffs of a reliever inhaler (puffer) - Ventolin, Airomir, Bricanyl, or Asmol.

3) Relievers are best given through a spacer, if available. Use 1 puff at a time and ask the person to take 4 breaths from the spacer after each puff. Wait for 4 minutes. If there is no improvement, give 4 more puffs.

If you still find little or no improvement, call the ambulance immediately. Keep giving 4 puffs every 4 minutes until the ambulance arrives. For children, 4 puffs each time is a safe dose. For adults, 6-8 puffs every 5 minutes may be given for a severe attack while waiting for the ambulance.

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Source: http://www.a1articles.com/article_1665136_40.html

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