How To Help Someone Who Is Having An Asthma Attack

If someone is having an asthma attack, always follow the instructions outlined on their medication.  However, if they do not have them to hand, these are the steps to follow. These guidelines are suitable for both children and adults.

Be calm and reassuring as reducing the stress and keeping the casualty calm really helps them to control their symptoms. Panic can increase the severity of an attack. Take one to two puffs of the reliever inhaler (usually blue), immediately – using a spacer device if available.

  • Stay as calm as you can and encourage them to stay calm too
  • Sit them down, loosen any tight clothing and encourage them to take slow, steady breaths.
  • If they do not start to feel better, they should take more puffs of their reliever inhaler
  • If they do not start to feel better after taking their inhaler as above, or if you are worried at any time, call 999/112.
  • They should keep taking the reliever inhaler whilst waiting for the paramedics to arrive
  • If the person has been prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector and you suspect the asthma attack may be due to an allergic reaction and the reliever inhaler is not working administer the AAI. Give this injection into the upper, outer part of their thigh according to the instructions. If worried in any way, check with the emergency services and keep them informed and updated as to the casualty’s condition.

Encouraging someone to sit upright is generally helpful when dealing with breathing problems. Sitting the wrong way round on a chair may be a good position for them.

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