An asthma attack can quickly turn into an emergency. If rapid action is carried out, the risk for an emergency can be drastically reduced. If a family member has asthma, an action plan should be prepared with the help of the doctor. This action plan should be followed if the symptoms of an asthma attack arises.
Indications of an emergency
The usual indications of an asthma attack include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to speak normally or the lips turn bluish
- Symptoms rapidly worsen
- A reliever inhaler provides little or no relief
Following the action plan
During an asthma attack, the action plan made by the doctor must be followed:
- Position the individual in an upright position
- Administer 4 puffs of the reliever medication (one at a time), taking 4 breaths for every puff. If a spacer is available, it should be used.
- Wait for 4 minutes. If the individual could not breathe normally, administer 4 more puffs.
- If there is no evident improvement in the condition of the individual, call for an ambulance.
- Continue to provide 4 separate puffs of the reliever medication, taking 4 breaths for every puff at every 4 minutes until the emergency team arrives.
In case you are not certain if an individual is experiencing an asthma attack, you can still utilize an asthma reliever medication since it is not likely to cause any harm.
An individual experiencing a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis might also end up with asthma-like symptoms. If the individual has an action plan for anaphylaxis, the instructions should be carefully followed. If the individual has severe allergies and brings along an adrenaline autoinjector, it should be used before an asthma reliever medication can be used.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on an asthma attack is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage respiratory emergencies including an asthma attack, register for a first aid and CPR course with one of our training providers.