How to Handle an Asthma Attack

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The best way to handle an asthma attack is to stay calm, to rest comfortably and to use an inhaler if one is available. Discover why it's important to get someone suffering from an asthma attack to breathe slowly with help from a nurse and respiratory care practitioner in this free video on asthma treatments.

Part of the Video Series: Asthma Symptoms & Treatments
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Video Transcript

How to handle an asthma attack. First of all keep yourself calm. If you get upset, or if you're nervous, it makes the patient more nervous. Allow the patient to rest comfortably, if lying or standing, sit them down, lean them into you and cradle them if they will allow you to. Remember, they're having difficulty breathing and they're scared and they're anxious and every breath they think is going to be their last one or if they can even get that one in. So they're very anxious and scared. Tell them you will help them get their inhaler, if they have one, out of their purse or out of their pocket. Call 911 while talking calmly to them. Have them breathe slowly, and purse lip out if possible. Sometimes it's very difficult to get the patient, or the person to do this right off because they're gasping for air. So talk slowly to them. Tell them to take in deep breaths, but slowly. Because there's already turbulent airways with narrowing airways with coughing and spasms in their airway. So they're going to have a very difficult time trying to slow down their breathing and also to breathe in through their nose if they possibly can very slowly and purse lip out. Very slowly. And the longer you can talk to them and get them to slow down and breathe in and out slowly the less the turbulent airways the patient will calm down and by that time perhaps you will have additional help or the inhaler has worked as a reliever for the asthma patient.

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