Know How to Help Someone Having an Asthma Attack

An asthma attack can be a scary thing to witness. It’s easy to panic and feel helpless when you see someone suddenly have difficulty breathing, but there is almost always something you can do to help them. If you see someone having an asthma attack, here is what you should do.

Recognizing the Signs of an Asthma Attack

First of all, you should be able to recognize the signs of an asthma attack. Many people think that anybody suffering from an asthma attack will start to wheeze, but that isn’t always the case. Asthma causes the muscles surrounding the airway to tighten, and while this can cause wheezing, it can also cause one’s airway to close up completely. If this happens, there will be no wheezing. Look instead for signs such as coughing, an inability to speak, or a blue or gray tinge to the lips and fingertips.

Remain Calm

One of the most important parts of treating someone with an asthma attack is remaining calm. This is sometimes easier said than done – especially if you’ve never seen an asthma attack before – but you won’t be of any help if you start to panic.

Get Them to Sit Up

If the person having the asthma attack is lying down, get them into a sitting position. This will help open up their airway and ensure that it is as unobstructed as possible.

Eliminate the Asthma Trigger

Asthma attacks can be triggered by any number of things. Some common triggers are pollen, mold, smoke, animal dander, and stress. The list is long, so it may be difficult to determine what triggered the asthma attack, but do your best to eliminate it or get the asthmatic away from it. Make a note of what could’ve triggered the asthma attack so you can avoid it in the future.

Remember Their Rescue Inhaler

Many asthmatics carry a rescue inhaler in case of an asthma attack. If this is the case for your companion, ask them about their inhaler and help them use it. Follow the directions on the inhaler closely to ensure that they get the proper dosage.

Follow Their Emergency Plan

If your companion has an emergency plan on them, follow it as closely as possible. Using their rescue inhaler could be the first step in this plan, but there might be more lengthy instructions in case of a more severe attack.

Determine the Severity of the Attack

It is possible that an asthma attack is severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. Signs of a particularly bad asthma attack include a bluish discoloration around the lips, skin that appears to be sucked in around the ribs and on the neck, and difficulty breathing even after a rescue inhaler has been used. Even if your companion doesn’t need to go to the hospital, encourage them to seek medical attention if it looks like their condition is getting worse.