What to do in an Asthma Emergency

An asthma emergency or attack is classed as a medical emergency. This is because the person either cannot or soon will not be able to breathe. If a person cannot breathe, they cannot get oxygen into their system, nor get rid of CO2 gas. Now, everyone is different, however, each person’s sensitivity to oxygen is very similar. Most people will start to feel faint or even pass out if their brain is deprived of oxygen for around a minute. After the one-minute mark, the most sensitive brain cells start to die, and as time goes on, more and more cells will perish. At the 5 minute mark, serious brain damage can occur, the risk of death only amplified the longer time without oxygen.

Therefore being without oxygen must be treated immediately, and both you and the person experiencing the attack must do all in your power to restore healthy oxygen flow. Most people who have been diagnosed with asthma will have both blue and brown inhaler pumps. These both contain different types of medication to aid them and prevent symptoms from worsening. In most cases, these chemicals help to relax the smooth muscle in the bronchioles and widen their lumen – which is the hole where air travels through. This is obviously beneficial because more oxygen can get to where it is needed, and CO2 can escape.

Now, prescribed medicine should work, however, the first thing you should do in an emergency is much simpler than any type of medication. Simply talk to the person and attempt to calm them down. Reassure them that everything will be okay. If they are getting flustered and stressed, their body will be put under even more strain than it already is, so keeping them calm is a must. Also, get them to sit down, as not only does this calm them down, but it also takes stress off of the body, and can even help with breathing. Then you must help them retrieve and take their medication.

With consent, you can loosen tight clothing around their neck. Advise them to take their reliever inhaler roughly every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 times. If their symptoms do not get better, or they worsen, after taking their inhaler 10 times, you must call for an ambulance. Other times you should immediately call for an ambulance is if they do not have their inhaler with them, or if they fall unconscious. Stay on the phone until the ambulance arrives, and if they do fall unconscious, start resuscitation as necessary.

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