Recognising and Treating Asthma
Asthma is a condition that affects more than five million people in the UK. It is a very hot topic at the moment as there are new rules about asthma inhalers in schools. As from this month, schools will be allowed to hold spare emergency inhalers in their first aid kits.
Asthma affects the small tubes in the lungs. When a person is exposed to an irritant this causes the muscles around the airways to tighten, the airways become narrower and sometimes produce a sticky mucus. All this can make it difficult to breathe. The symptoms may include one some or all of the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness of the chest
The casualty may also have difficulty speaking, pale clammy skin, grey or blue lips, over use of neck muscles to breath, exhausted or eventually unconscious and not breathing.
To treat an asthma attack you should help the casualty to sit upright, help them to use their reliever (blue inhaler) and try to take the casualty’s mind off the attack - stress may make the situation worse. If the attack is prolonged or severe call 999/112 for emergency help.
Remember - cold air can make the attack worse so stay inside if possible, keep the casualty upright and be prepared to resuscitate if necessary. For more information why not sign up for a first aid course and get the right training.