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If Someone Has An Asthma Attack What Would You Do?

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If Someone Has An Asthma Attack What Would You Do?

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Dec 02, 2013

Around 5.4 million people in the UK suffer from asthma; this means that 1 in 5 households are affected by this. Whilst we do not know for certain what the main cause of asthma is, we can identify its triggers and do what we can when someone who suffers from asthma has an attack.

What can trigger an asthma attack?

The different triggers can vary between individuals but the main triggers are generally factors affecting the quality of air, or air flow into the sufferer’s lungs. These can include;

  • Smoking
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Traffic fumes and pollution
  • The change in weather and temperatures
  • Illness, this can include viral infections, the flu or even a cold.
  • Medicines, some reported cases state medicines can be a trigger.
  • Negative emotions that affect your respiratory rate, this can include shock or anger
  • Exercise that affects your respiratory rate
  • Hormones, women in particular have noticed that their hormones can be a trigger for their asthma.
  • Mould, either from damp housing or the type that is released from trees
  • Household chemical cleaners and aerosols

Many of these can be encountered in everyday situations, yet many people who do not suffer from asthma do not know what to do when encountering someone having an attack. Furthermore, when 90% of asthma related deaths can be avoided, I wanted to make people aware of what they can do to help to stop an attack and potentially save lives.

How to spot an asthma attack

With so many of these triggers around, you can spot when an asthma attack occurs with the following;

  • The inhaler is not helping to relieve the sufferer or it is lasting over four hours.
  • The symptoms are getting worse, this can mean coughing, wheezing, or they feel tight chested.
  • They are struggling to eat, sleep or talk and are generally breathless
  • They feel like they cannot catch their breath, which can then cause rapid breathing
  • Smaller children may identify a stomach ache

If you spot these symptoms, do not be afraid to go to A&E - trust your gut instinct and listen to what the person is saying. Even if they do not want to cause a fuss, it is important to keep their health at the forefront of everything.

What to do when an asthma attack occurs

Remain as calm as possible, this will also help the person having the attack to stay calm and focussed. Around 75% of asthma attacks can avoid hospital treatment but both children and adults can be prone so you can use these steps for both;

  1. The first thing to do is to make sure the sufferer takes two puffs from their reliever inhaler. (This is usually blue.)
  2. Sit them down and ask them to take slow and steady breaths.
  3. If they are not feeling better ensure they take another puff of their inhaler and continue with deep breaths.
  4. If there is still no progress then they can continue to take a puff every two minutes with a maximum of 10 puffs.
  5. Keep the sufferer calm and if their condition does not improve, call 999.

From this, continue to help them with the breathing exercise and help them to remain calm – your help will help to calm them and prevent them suffering alone! It is advisable that if the sufferer’s symptoms do improve (and you do not need to call 999), they should still see a doctor or asthma nurse within 24 hours.

So what part does EnviroVent play in all this? Well, our Positive Input Ventilation range can help to alleviate the symptoms of asthma and allergies through whole house ventilation.