How to Help When Someone is Experiencing an Asthma Attack?
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How to assist someone during an asthma attack?

When we talk about first aid and getting the appropriate CPR and AED certification, we usually associate it with cardiac arrests and other morbid injuries. However, not many of us know that people getting asthma attacks also need first aid.

First of all, you need to remember that asthma attacks are very much like cardiac arrests. They can happen anytime and anywhere. Oftentimes, they happen without warning. This is why it is considered an emergency situation.

Unfortunately, no matter how common it is, a lot of people still panic and forget the right things to do when someone around them is experiencing an asthma attack. If you want to learn first aid, choose a course that also discusses how to administer CPR and first aid for asthma victims.

We will discuss basic information and some tips to remember so you can efficiently attend to someone having an asthma attack in this article.

Asthma Causes

The topic of asthma causes is often a grey area even for medical professionals. There is no exact explanation for why it happens. It is not contagious, but it might be hereditary. Someone who has asthma could experience their first cardiac attack when they are still young. Moreover, people with respiratory infections are also prone to getting asthma when they get older.

There are many things attributed to asthma attacks. The very common causes are environmental pollutants and allergens. This includes pollen, dust mites, tobacco smoke, molds, and particular chemical irritants. Sometimes, asthma can also be triggered by certain medicine types.

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma is generally caused by an inflammation in the airways or muscle constrictions around the airways. When this happens and asthma is triggered, the victim could experience wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

In worse cases, the victim’s lips and fingernails could have a visible blue color and they may not be able to walk or talk properly.

What to Do

Asthma attacks can suddenly happen out of nowhere and it can be really easy to go into panic mode especially when there is no immediate medication available. However, there are simple things you can do to alleviate it while waiting for medical professionals.

  • If the victim has an action plan when they are attacked by asthma, do it first. People with asthma often carry around a note with them, detailing the steps and directions on what to do in case an asthma attack happens.
  • First aid techniques to alleviate asthma attacks include helping the victim sit upright, loosening their tight clothing, guiding the victim in using their inhaler if they have one, and administering medication.
  • The general rule of inhalers is to provide four puffs each set every four minutes until the emergency response team arrives. For more serious attacks, it is recommended to give six to eight puffs every five minutes.


If you are interested in getting a CPR & AED certification, make sure you consider the information presented above about asthma so you can choose an appropriate course that will teach you what to do during asthma attacks.

To better prepare for emergency instances, it is important to stay up to do date with your training. American CPR Care Association offers online courses for CPR Certification or Recertification. To learn more about these courses, visit our website or contact us. 


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