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What to do in the case of an Asthma attack

What to do in the case of an Asthma attack

  • January 8, 2023
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An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms triggered by the tightening of muscles around the airways.

Unconscious casualty

  1. Follow DRSABCD St John Action Plan.
  2. If CPR is required it may be more difficult to get a breath into the casualty’s lungs.

Conscious casualty

  1. Follow DRSABCD St John Action Plan.
  2. Sit the casualty comfortably upright. Be calm and reassuring and don’t leave the casualty alone.
  3. Help the casualty to take four (4) puffs from their inhaler following their Asthma Action Plan (if they have one).
  4. Wait four (4) minutes – if the casualty still cannot breathe normally, give four (4) more puffs in the same way.
  5. If the casualty gets little or no relief from the inhaler, call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.
  6. Keep giving four (4) puffs every four (4) minutes until medical aid arrives.

How to give Asthma medication

With a spacer

  • Assemble spacer.
  • Remove puffer cap and shake well
  • Insert puffer upright into spacer
  • Place mouthpiece between teeth and seal lips around it
  • Press once firmly on puffer to fire one (1) puff into spacer
  • Take four (4) breaths in and out of spacer
  • Repeat one (1) puff at a time until four (4) puffs taken
  • Remember to shake the puffer before each puff.

Without a spacer

  • Remove puffer cap and shake well
  • Breathe out away from puffer
  • Place mouthpiece between teeth and seal lips around it
  • Press once firmly on puffer while breathing in slowly & deeply
  • Slip puffer out of mouth
  • Hold breath for four (4) seconds or as long as comfortable
  • Breathe out slowly away from puffer
  • Repeat one (1) puff at a time until four (4) puffs taken
  • Remember to shake the puffer before each puff.

Triggers may include

  • Exercise/activity
  • Respiratory infections
  • Inhaled allergens, such as pollen
  • Changes in temperature and weather, especially cold air.
  • Environmental factors
  • Emotional factors, such as anxiety, stress or laughter
  • Certain medications e.g. aspirin
  • Chemicals and strong smells
  • Some foods and food preservatives.

Symptoms and signs of a severe asthma attack:

  • Dry, irritating, persistent cough
  • Gasping for breath
  • Unable to speak more than one or two words per breath
  • Blue discolouration around the lips
  • Pale and sweaty skin
  • Symptoms rapidly getting worse or using reliever more than every two hours.
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