Asthma is a fairly common disease, which can have grave implications if not treated the right way.
People suffering from asthma are prone to having an attack which involves the muscles surrounding the airway to contract. During this attack, the person might cough, wheeze and may have serious trouble in breathing. Read on to find out how to deal with an asthma patient having an attack.
1. Identify the Symptoms
An asthma attack is primarily characterised by violent coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. Other symptoms may include rapid breathing, severe pain in chest, sweating, blue lips or fingernails. Most asthma attacks are not that intense and can be eased with medication. However, asthma attacks can get considerably worse and may require proper medical attention.
2. Stay Calm
This probably is one of the most important steps. It’s easy to lose calm and cool when you witness an asthma attack but it is important to maintain your composure to help the person enduring the attack.
3. Ask the Basic Questions
People suffering from asthma generally know how to deal with an attack. However, it may be possible that the person having the attack is not able to reach out to his or her inhaler. You can try asking if the asthmatic person or any person nearby has an inhaler. There is also a chance that the person would be carrying an instruction card.
4. Help the Person Sit up
If a person is having an attack, it is much easier for them to breathe while sitting up rather than lying down. Your first priority should be to get that person in a comfortable sitting position.
5. Administer Medication
Once the person is sitting upright, you can administer three to four puffs to ease the attack. You can administer the next dose after a time span of five to ten minutes. For administering the medication, place the mouthpiece of the inhaler between the patient’s lips and signal him/her when you are about to deliver a puff. It is important to wait for a few seconds before you administer the second puff.
After you have given the medication to the patient, you must monitor his condition closely. The coughing should considerably ease off and the patient should be able to breathe better. If the condition further worsens, it is critical to call an ambulance right away. You can continue to deliver the medication until medical support is underway.
An asthma attack warrants prompt treatment in order to prevent it from becoming a life threat. You must take immediate action and get access to medication for the patient. It is also important to keep reassuring the patient and help him/her to keep calm. Remember that asthma can be dealt with easily if you take the right steps.