How to Handle an Asthma Attack Without an Inhaler

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If a person having an asthma attack doesn't have an inhaler, it's important for them to exhale stale air as slowly as possible. Find out why it's so important to keep a person who's having an asthma attack calm with help from a nurse and respiratory care practitioner in this free video on respiratory therapy and healthy breathing.

Part of the Video Series: Respiratory Therapy
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Video Transcript

I'm going to speak to you just briefly, about how to handle an asthma attack, without an inhaler. Have the person who's having an attack or asthma attack, exhale stale air as slowly as possible, because the airways are already turbulent, they're already narrowed down, and it's going to be very difficult for the person who's having the attack, to be able to exhale slowly, or to get air in. Either way, they're going to be very apprehensive, they're going to be trying to struggle for a breath, and they have no medication with them, and no inhaler. This is what this is about, without an inhaler, so have them inhale slowly as possible, to not create any more turbulence in the airway, and keeping the patient, or the person who's having the attack, as calm as possible, and you also remaining calm, so that you don't upset the patient further. Allow the patient or the person to sit on the ground, if they have to sit down, lean into you to be comfortable, or to sit in a chair, and lean into you that way. Sometimes, what will happen is, someone will find it more comfortable, to perhaps lean forward, and put their elbows on the table, if that's possible, and with that in mind, it allows some of that dirty air, which is trapped in there, the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which asthma is a component of, that would be able to escape a little bit easier, if you can slow the person down, from breathing too heavily. Speak softly to them, and make sure that you call 911, while you're comforting the patient, while you're tending to their breathing, trying to get them to slow down, and then stay with them, don't leave them.

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