How to Treat an Asthma Attack

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When treating an asthma attack, it's important to take the situation seriously, to give an inhaler to the victim of the attack, and to keep them as comfortable as possible. Find out why it's so important to stay relaxed and calm during an asthma attack 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

Hello. I'd like to speak to you just briefly about how to treat an asthma attack. 1. You never take it for granted when someone's having difficulty breathing, chest tightness, coughing a lot, and just become very wheezy, especially on expiration. That's just some of the signals and symptoms that you'll be seeing and hearing. First of all, you want to assess them, if wheezing. Also, if they're not able to answer you, you might say to them, "Are you having an asthma attack?" or "Are you breathing okay?", "Is everything all right?" And maybe all they can do is nod to you. And if they're wheezing, you can know that there's probably an inhaler if they've been diagnosed and treated. And if they have a purse with them, if it's a female, then tell them what you're doing, that you're looking for their inhaler. And if it's a male, maybe it's a pocket or a pants pocket or a shirt pocket that you can help get that inhaler out. And once you've found the inhaler, hand it to the person that's having the attack. Let them give their own inhaler. They know how to give their inhalers. They also know how much they can give. And they're not going to be able to overdo it at that time, because they're going to be able to, hopefully, stop some of the wheezing; at least get it under control. Also, if they are sitting down, let them lean in to you, as comfortable as possible, might be in a restaurant or some place in public. And if they're sitting on the ground, let them lean in to you so they can be sort of comfortable while you're trying to get someone to call 911 or if you have your telephone, call 911 for them. Let them come, the paramedics and the emergency personnel, and assess the patient. That way, you'll know for sure that the patient is getting everything that they need and that they can make the decision whether they need to go to the hospital or not. And that doesn't rely on you to make that decision. Don't underestimate asthma. It can be fatal. So with that in mind, don't take it for granted, but do cooperate with the patient. Try to remain calm as possible, because the patient probably is already upset and nervous and having such breathing problems that they're not able to cope with anything else going on around them. So try to get the patient to relax, if you can. And above all, you stay relaxed and stay calm. And make that phone call and have someone come from the emergency squad to check the patient and go from there. Thank you.

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