Acute asthma attack first aid

4 years ago

Call 911

* Symptoms of acute attack include difficulty talking or walking because of shortness of breath or lips or fingernails turning blue.

1. Follow the Persons Asthma Plan, if Possible

* Find out if the person has an individualized asthma action plan from a health care provider.
* If so, follow its directions for giving asthma medication and seeking medical help for acute asthma attack.

2. Give Asthma First Aid

If the person doesn`t have an asthma plan:

* Sit the person upright comfortably and loosen tight clothing.
* If the person has asthma medication, such as an inhaler, assist in using it.
* If the person doesnt have an inhaler, use one from a first aid kit or borrow someone elses.

3. Use Inhaler With a Spacer, if Possible

* Remove cap and shake inhaler well.
* Insert inhaler into spacer.
* Have the person breathe out completely and put mouth tightly around spacer mouthpiece.
* Press inhaler once to deliver a puff.
* Have the person breathe in slowly through the mouth and then hold breath for 10 seconds.
* Give a total of four puffs, waiting about a minute between each puff.

4. Use Inhaler Without a Spacer, if Necessary

* Remove the inhaler cap and shake well.
* Have the person breathe out all the way and seal lips tightly around inhaler mouthpiece.
* As the person starts to breathe in slowly, press down on inhaler one time.
* The person should keep breathing in as slowly and deeply as possible (about five to seven seconds) and then hold breath for 10 seconds.
* Give a total of four puffs, waiting about one minute between each puff.

5. Continue Using Inhaler if Breathing Is Still a Problem

* After four puffs, wait four minutes. If the person still has trouble breathing, give another set of four puffs.
* If theres still little or no improvement, give four puffs every four minutes until ambulance arrives. If the person is having a severe attack, give up to six to eight puffs every five minutes.

6. Monitor the Person Until Help Arrives

* Do not mistake drowsiness as a sign of improvement; it could mean asthma is worsening.
* Do not assume the persons asthma is improving if you no longer hear wheezing.

7. Follow Up

* An emergency room doctor will check the severity of the attack and provide treatment, including medications.
* The person may be discharged home or hospitalized for further care, depending on response to treatment.

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