If you find yourself in a situation where there is an asthma emergency, use the acronym ASTHMA to help you remember the correct steps to follow.
A for Assess
Short of breath, wheeze, cough, chest tightness.
Loud wheeze, breathing difficulty, can only speak in short sentences.
Distressed, gasping for breath, difficulty speaking two words, blueness around the mouth.
If the person has severe asthma or is frightened, call an ambulance on 111.
S for Sit
Sit the person upright and stay with them. If mild, treat with two doses of reliever inhaler.
T for Treat
Treat with six doses of reliever inhaler. This type of inhaler should be used with a spacer. One puff of medicine at a time. Use six breaths per puff.
H for Help
If not improving after six minutes, call an ambulance. Continue to use the reliever inhaler - six doses every six minutes until help arrives.
In this situation, you will not overdose the person by giving them the reliever every few minutes.
M for Monitor
If improving after 6 minutes, keep monitoring. If necessary, repeat doses of blue inhaler.
A for All OK!
When free of wheeze, cough or breathlessness, return to quiet activity.
If symptoms recur, repeat treatment and rest.
See your doctor.
Teresa Demetriou from the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ explains how to help someone in the event of an asthma attack.
Teresa Demetriou from the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ explains what happens to the lungs during an asthma attack.
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