What Do You Do During an Asthma Attack?

What Do You Do During an Asthma Attack? 

For anyone who has asthma, an asthma care plan is essential to prevent worsening of your symptoms and an asthma attack. The asthma care plan is your guide to determining how well your asthma is controlled and what actions need to be taken when asthma worsens or when you develop symptoms of an asthma attack. With your input, your doctor will develop your asthma care plan.

What Do You Do During an Asthma Attack
asthma attack what to do?

Everyone with asthma is different. Some people will have frequent attacks while others may go a long period between attacks. You need to monitor your asthma symptoms like chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chronic cough. The action plan that you and your child's healthcare provider have developed will list how to treat asthma symptoms.

If a student has an asthma attack or you suspect they are having an attack, you should take immediate action.

How do I know if it's an asthma attack?

If someone is having an asthma attack you will have one or a combination of any of the symptoms below: 

  • Cough
  • Wheeze
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Too breathless to finish a sentence
  • Too breathless to walk, sleep or eat
  • Lips turning blue.

If it's an asthma attack follow the 5 step rule

What Do You Do During an Asthma Attack?

  • Take two puffs of reliever inhaler (usually blue), one puff at a time
  • Sit up and stay calm
  • Take slow steady breaths
  • If there is no improvement, take one puff of reliever inhaler every minute: Adults and children over six years can take up to ten puffs in ten minutes, Children under six years can take up to six puffs in ten minutes
  • Call to doctor if symptoms do not improve after ten minutes or you are worried. 

(Not designed for people using a Symbicort Inhaler on the “Symbicort Smart Regime” Please speak to your Doctor/Nurse if this is the case.)

Identify Indications For Emergency Care:

One of the most important skills as a patient or parent of a child with asthma is to know when you need to call your doctor or just head straight to the emergency department. All of the following symptoms are indications that you or your child needs to seek a healthcare provider for emergency care immediately:
  • Wheezing that occurs while breathing both in and out
  • Coughing that has become continuous
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tachypnea or breathing very fast
  • Retractions where your skin is pulled in as you breath
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty talking in complete sentences
  • Becoming pale
  • Becoming anxious
  • Blue lips or fingernails called cyanosis
If you or your child has any of these symptoms, they are in the "red zone" of the asthma care plan and you should begin following those instructions immediately, which should also include seeing a healthcare provider. Make sure that you keep your emergency numbers and details of who to contact in an emergency situation in an easily identifiable place like the refrigerator or a bulletin board near your phone. It is also a good idea to carry this information with you.

During an asthma attack

  • Use a spacer if possible
  • Don’t lie the student down or put your arm around them
  • Don’t leave the student on their own
  • Don’t worry about giving too much reliever- Extra puffs of reliever are safe
  • Contact the student’s guardian immediately after calling an ambulance
  • Ensure that an adult accompanies a student to hospital and stays with them until a guardian arrives.
  • You should not take students to hospital in your own car if possible; however if it is necessary another adult should accompany you.