In the UK, 1 in every 12 adults and 1 in every 11 children are currently receiving treatment for asthma, and tragically 3 people die every day because of asthma attacks.
Asthma is a long-term condition that affects the airways. When they come into contact with their trigger, such as a pet, a dusty room, exercise, pollen, cold weather or cigarette smoke, it will set off the symptoms.
The muscles around the airways tighten and the lining of the airways swells and produces a sticky mucus, all of which cause them to narrow making it difficult to breathe. This leads to asthma symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, or coughing.
All asthmatics should have a broncho-dilating reliever inhaler (usually blue) which should be used immediately. This will relax the muscles surrounding the narrowed airways allowing the airways to open wider, making it easier to breathe again.
- Firstly attempt to remove them from the trigger, keeping yourself and them as calm as possible.
- Then sit them down in a comfortable position. Do not lie them down as the weight of the chest may exacerbate their condition.
- Enable the casualty to take 1-2 puffs of their reliever inhaler immediately. If they have one use a spacer, which are large plastic chambers with a hole at one end for the reliever inhaler to fit. The space enables the medication to be aerated, making it easier to inhale.
- If they do not start to feel better, take 1-2 puffs every 2 minutes. They can take up to 10 puffs.
- If the casualty does not feel better, is becoming exhausted, or if this is their first attack, then call 999/112 for an ambulance.
More information available from Asthma UK - www.asthma.org.uk/
Do you know anyone with asthma? If so what is their trigger?