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Asthma - How to Help Someone having an Attack


Even if you have asthma, you can learn to keep it under control. Most people with asthma can lead normal lives. However, if you have an asthma attack, this can be terrifying. If not taken care of properly, it can be serious and even fatal.

An asthma attack can be terrifying for both children and adults.

Additionally, emergency room visits for asthma sufferers, both young and old, are very common. Even worse, thousands die every year as a direct or indirect result of an asthma attack. Most of these deaths could be avoided with proper treatment. In the United Kingdom, for example, approximately 1400 people every year die from an asthma attack. That's about four people a day.

In short, people are dying needlessly. If you learn to deal with your asthma, you can not only live a normal life, but you may very well save your own life. If you're an adult and have recently been diagnosed with asthma, make sure you talk to your doctor and get proper information. The Internet is also a fine resource to find information on treatment. However, you should take care that that the sites you get information from are endorsed by the proper professionals and not simply "quack" treatments. Remember that information is power, and if you have the proper information, you're well armed to deal with an asthma attack, should it occur.

To find out what your triggers are, keep a log for a few days and note when asthma attacks occur. It is a trigger dust? Animal hair? By keeping track of your symptoms and when they occur, you can learn which substances trigger asthma attacks. Or perhaps it's situational, wherein you have an asthma attack triggered when you breathe in cold air, for example. In that case, it would be advised to limit your outdoor exposure during winter months, or wear a scarf over your mouth to help warm the air that you breathe in.

Your doctor may mention a peak flow meter. This is an instrument you use daily to measure your lungs' strength and efficiency. It can help you predict when an asthma attack is going to happen. Should you have an attack, remember to keep calm.

This may be difficult for you if you've just been diagnosed with asthma, but once you become experienced at this, you will be able to do this easily. Place your hands palms down in your lap and focus on breathing in slowly. Try not to take big gulps of air. The attack should subside in 5 to 10 minutes. However, if symptoms don't go away, go to the hospital or call an ambulance immediately, so that you get medical intervention right away.

Our existence depends on breath and an acute asthma attack can make it almost impossible to breathe. No wonder these attacks are so scary for both the affected person and for onlookers.

Knowing the basics of asthma treatment is essential when trying to help someone experiencing an attack.

Maybe you are having dinner with a friend and all of a sudden, she looks panic stricken and gasps for breath. Or perhaps your children's friends have come over to your house and your daughter screams that her best friend can't breathe.

Do you know how to deal with these situations? If you are able to provide the right asthma treatment, it might possibly save someone's life.

How to Help Someone Having an Asthma Attack

* During a bout of asthma, patients find it easier to breathe while sitting up than lying down. So help them get into a comfortable sitting position.

* Most asthma patients know what they need to do to deal with an attack. So it is best to ask them. Ask if they have an inhaler and where it is. If they don't have one, ask them if you should call for help.

Many asthma patients carry not only an inhaler, but a written instruction card as well. An asthma attack can temporarily rob the patient of his ability to speak.

In such situations, an instruction card explaining what needs to be done can be invaluable. If there is such a card, just do as it says.

* Help them use the inhaler. An inhaler is designed to deliver a specific dose of asthma medication. The medication relaxes the patient's airways and helps restore normal breathing.

Medication is so important that in case the patient doesn't have his or her inhaler available, most doctors say that it is ok to use someone else's. Nothing else you can do has nearly the same effect as taking the right medication.

In general, you should give two to four puffs of the inhaler and then wait for about five minutes for the next dose.

Position the mouthpiece of the inhaler between the patient's lips. Let him know when you are about to give a puff so that he can breathe in at the same time.

Wait for several seconds before you deliver another puff. Or until he lets you know he is ready for the next one.

You can use a spacer to help the person inhale the medicine over the course of several breaths, instead of one breath. This device sits between the inhaler and the person's mouth and can hold the medicine in place between breaths.

If a spacer is not available, you can make one by rolling up some paper to create a tube.

* Once you've given medication, observe the patient for several minutes. Is it getting easier for him to breathe?

* If it appears that they are not responding to the medication within ten minutes, call an ambulance. And continue to deliver about four puffs of medication every five minutes while waiting for the ambulance.

The medication will help prevent the asthma attack from getting worse even if it doesn't seem to provide immediate relief.

* Stay calm throughout the episode. This will help the patient remain calm as well. If he panics, it will worsen the asthma attack and make it far more difficult for him to breathe.

So talk to him calmly, to reinforce the feeling that everything is under control. This is vitally important.

Being aware of these asthma treatment basics will help you deal effectively with many emergency situations.

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