What to Do If You See a Person Experiencing an Asthma Attack

Kid using inhaler

Asthma is immensely variable and unpredictable. While some asthma attacks could be easily managed at home and come with mild symptoms, others need professional treatment.

The first and most common symptom of an asthma attack is difficulty breathing. When this happens, the individual could then experience wheezing, coughing fits, chest tightening, and significant back pain due to the other symptoms.

Other warning signs might include difficulty speaking, grayish or bluish tinge on the lips or fingers or difficulty managing daily chores.

How to Deal With an Asthma Attack

Fortunately, asthma attacks are rarer nowadays due to more advanced treatment options. Unfortunately, however, some individuals still experience them. What do you if you see someone having an asthma attack?

  • Follow the person’s emergency plan if they have one, which might include using an OTC asthma inhaler and bronchodilators. If possible, ask if they have a back-up plan if the emergency plan doesn’t work.
  • Get the person away from what’s triggering the asthma attack. If you’re not aware of what’s triggering the attack, try asking them directly.
  • Don’t panic and try to keep the person calm as well. A majority of people panic when they can’t breathe properly, so you need to help them stay calm to keep their symptoms from worsening.
  • Help the person sit up. Getting them to sit in an upright position would help them breathe in air more easily.
  • Evaluate the severity of the person’s symptoms. Check if they are having a serious attack. Warning signs of worsening symptoms include a bluish, grayish tinge to the lips, skin that appears sucked in or hollowed on the neck and between the ribs, and continuous breathing difficulties even after using an asthma inhaler.

What Else Can You Do?

Even if the person feels relief after treating the asthma attack, encourage them to visit the doctor to check if the current treatment plan might need some adjustments.

Lastly, know when your help isn’t enough. If there’s no emergency plan or if you followed the plan, but it isn’t working, call an ambulance or head straight to the emergency room as soon as possible. Don’t delay. This is extremely crucial because the attack won’t stop until someone treats it appropriately.