GIVE FIRST AID DURING AN ASTHMA ATTACK

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Asthma is a condition that must be monitored closely. Even a simple asthma attack can become very complicated if not tended to properly. Asthma attacks can happen anywhere, and knowing what to do when they occur can save a life. Weather, pollution, allergies and overexertion are only a few triggers of asthma, and while all of this cannot be eliminated, you can decrease the risks of an asthma attack by following some of the suggestions below.

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Do not use information in this wiki without first consulting a doctor. This is not meant to replace medical advice. This is for informational purposes only.

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What is Asthma?

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Asthma, also called"reactive airway disease" or "bronchial asthma" which pertains to a chronic illness described as an inflammation of the airways, constricting the air passages making it difficult for oxygen to reach and fill the lungs. It's a sad fact that asthma is deemed incurable, however, there are various ways to effectively manage and deal with the perils of asthma, enabling you to live an otherwise normal life. Asthma is commonly triggered by environmental factors that cause irritation, thus tightening the muscles around the air passages making it difficult for air to move freely. Patients suffering from asthma usually have red and inflamed bronchial tubes which require immediate medical treatment to avoid any further serious complications and irreversible damage to the lungs.

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Asthma is linked to eosinophils, mast cells, and T lymphocytes which trigger hyperresponsiveness or hypersensitivity of the lungs. T lymphocytes are white blood cells (WBC) that precipitate swelling and allergy symptoms, mast cells are special cells that release "histamine" which cause the common cold, nasal allergies, skin allergies, and hay fever; while the eosinophils are associated with allergic reactions. More mucus is also inadvertently produced in the lungs which further tightens the air passages. Asthma can be induced by doing rigorous physical activities. This is called "exercise-induced asthma". There are also asthma attacks that are usually felt early in the morning (diurnal) or late at night (nocturnal).

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Allergies will trigger an asthma attack. Common allergies asthmatics have include animals, dust, mold, feathers, hay, grass, pollen, foods, and more. When an asthmatic is in the midst of an attack, they don't have so much trouble inhaling, but they have a lot of trouble expelling air from their lungs. This is why someone having an attack doesn't have enough air to speak.

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Risk Factors for Asthma

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  1. 1
    Age
    .
    Asthma can occur at any age (from infants to elderly) in both men and women, but it's usually more prevalent in younger individuals under 40. In fact, most often, the onset of asthma usually becomes apparent around age 5.
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  2. 2
    Heredity
    .
    You are considered to be of greater risk of contracting the disease if you have a medical history of asthma in the family tree.
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  3. 3
    Ethnicity
    .
    In the USA, Puerto Ricans and Blacks (African-Americans) are more prone to getting asthma compared to other ethnic groups.
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  4. 4
    Cigarette Smoking
    .
    People who smoke on a regular basis are said to be at a higher risk of having asthma in contrast to non-smokers. Passive smokers or those people who are constantly exposed to a smoking environment have an increased likelihood of contracting a respiratory disease, like asthma. It is wise to note that exposure before and after pregnancy to tobacco smoke also increases an infant's risk to contracting asthma.
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  5. 5
    Allergies
    .
    Certain allergies such as nasal or skin allergies (eczema) and hay fever also puts you at a higher risk of getting asthma, or exacerbating existing asthma, and likewise, people with asthma are more prone to allergies and eczema.
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  6. 6
    Low birth weight
    .
    Babies born with a significantly low birth weight due to some nutritional, environmental, or genetic factors are also regarded to be more susceptible to asthma.
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  7. 7
    Respiratory diseases
    .
    If you are suffering from a number of respiratory illnesses such as sinusitis, nasal polyps, and ear infections then you are also prone to developing asthma.
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Common Causes of Asthma Attacks

  1. 1
    Environmental Allergens
    .
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    This pertains to certain environmental triggers that include pollen, pet dander, dust mites, food, and molds, that cause inflammation of the bronchial tubes and constriction of the air passages.
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  2. 2
    Weather Conditions
    .
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    Being exposed to extreme and erratic weather conditions can precipitate sudden asthma attacks. For some, it's being in an extremely dry temperature, for others, extreme cold and some asthmatics have trouble tolerating hot weather. All these can also worsen or trigger asthma in all ages.
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  3. 3
    Drug and Food Allergies
    .
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    People who have certain food and drug allergies risk having an asthma attack triggered by monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium sulfite, non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAID), aspirin, and beta-blockers. Some of the most common food or derivatives that trigger asthma bouts are fish, eggs, peanuts, shrimp, soy, and wheat.
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  4. 4
    Air Pollution
    .
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    Exposure to industrial fumes as well as carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles and cigarette smoking can irritate the lungs and cause vicious asthma attacks.
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  5. 5
    Exercise
    .
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    Doing rigorous or strenuous exercises that push you to the point of being out of breath, can trigger asthma attacks.
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  6. 6
    Strong Odors
    .
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    Certain strong perfumes or the smell of fresh paint (especially oil-based) can be nauseating and trigger asthma attacks.
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  7. 7
    Stress
    .
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    Being in an overwhelming state of stress can cause anxiety, which can trigger asthma attacks. State of mind always plays a role in the onset of asthma attacks.
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Tell-Tale Signs of an Asthma Attack

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  1. 1
    Hunched over
    .
    The first sign someone is approaching an asthma attack, is their posture. They'll be hunched over, hands in their pockets. This is a handy thing to look for in children with asthma.
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  2. 2
    Tightness of the chest
    .
    This is the first sign an asthma attack is pending. The breathing isn't labored, yet, but will be soon unless action is taken.
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Labored Breathing. This pertains to the inflammation of the bronchioles and chest walls, which makes breathing very difficult and painful. There is a lot more air taken in, than exhaled.

  1. 1
    Wheezing
    .
    Repetitive breathing in and out which produces a wheezing sound in the chest.
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  2. 2
    Quiet
    .
    If you aren't sure if your child is having trouble breathing, pay attention when they become unusually quiet. It may be a sign they don't have enough air to talk.
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  3. 3
    Lightheaded
    .
    Due to lack of oxygen, the patient may feel dizzy and have difficulty concentrating. Vision could be diminished or affected.
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  4. 4
    Vomiting
    .
    The dizzy spells and lack of air can make you throw up.
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  5. 5
    Incessant coughing
    .
    The patient may cough continuously due to the inhaled irritants and increased sticky mucus production that can fill up the lungs making it very painful and impossible to breathe properly. The cough will be tight, and make breathing even more difficult.
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  6. 6
    Rapid breathing
    .
    This is most commonly observed in asthma sufferers. The nostrils are flared up and the mouth gaped open. Often though, the lips are tight and pursed.
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  7. 7
    Profuse sweating
    .
    Due to too much exertion in respiration, some people may be sweating a great deal.
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  8. 8
    Pale
    .
    The skin of someone in the midst of an asthma attack is pale and lackluster – due to lack of oxygen.
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  9. 9
    Appearance of blue lips and fingernails
    .
    The restricted oxygen supply in the lungs and other organ systems may cause the patient's lips and fingernails to turn from healthy pink to pale blue. If this is the case – call an ambulance right away.
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Dealing With an Attack

  1. 1
    Remain Calm
    .
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    The first, and probably most important rule, whether you are the patient or the respondent, is to be calm. Keep calm, yet assertive, so that you can maintain control over your body. Do not let yourself panic.
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  2. 2
    Don't Use a Paper Bag
    .
    Some people on the internet suggest breathing into a paper bag during an asthma attack. This is NOT good advice. This is what you are doing for hyperventilation or a panic attack, NOT an asthma attack. This is what you do when someone is getting too much air. With an asthma attack, you aren't getting enough.
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  3. 3
    Put Patient in Proper Position
    .
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    Place the patient in sitting position, leaning slightly forward. This gives the patients lungs more room for expansion so that he or she may take in more air. Never lay an someone having an asthma attack on their back. It's also important that your child with asthma have enough non-feather pillows so they can sleep in a sitting position if need be.
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  4. 4
    Give medication
    .
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    Usually patients with asthma carry inhalers or other medications with them in case they have an asthma attack. Sometimes they just need assistance because they are having such a difficult time breathing. If, somehow, they don't have their medication with them, either fetch it for them, or get them to a hospital.
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  5. 5
    Go to the Hospital
    .
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    Just to be sure, bring the patient to the nearest hospital for medical attention. Even if you have given first aid, it does not mean the attack is over. If there's one good thing about asthma, is in the emergency room, it automatically is considered "critical", and the patient will be taken care of almost immediately.
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Tips Tricks & Warnings

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  • Try to converse with the asthma sufferer to help keep him or her calm, but don't ask them questions, as they won't have the air to answer.
  • Give the patient plenty of room to breathe. Try to avoid crowded areas.
  • Do not risk further complications, even if the patient seems to be breathing normally. Take him or her to the hospital.

Questions and Answers

Do you put a paper bag by an asthma attack?

Do you put a paper bag by an asthma attack

No, do not do that.

DO NOT breathe into a paper bag during an asthma attack. This must have been confused with a panic attack, which people do practice that, but NEVER for an asthma attack. The paper bag trick is when someone is getting "too much" air. An "asthmatic isn't getting enough air."

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How can breathing in a paper bag help an asthmatic patients?

How can breathing in paper bag help an asthmatic patients? Will it cause any problems? Why breathing in a paper bag?

It cannot help an asthmatic. This part of the article has been corrected. It is NOT good for a person having an asthma attack to breathe into a paper bag. Excellent for noticing it was not good advice.

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Tips on asthma attack for 8 year old kid?

My daughter has an asthma attack, I had given her a low dosage salbutamol & a Ventolin nebula 5 minutes later. What time should I give her the next dose? She is a little bit OK now.

This is something you need to ask your doctor. Write it on a piece of paper, and attach it to the fridge so you will be able to read it whenever you need to.

Referencing this Article

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APA (American Psychological Association)
GIVE FIRST AID DURING AN ASTHMA ATTACK. (2016). In VisiHow. Retrieved Apr 23, 2017, from http://visihow.com/GIVE_FIRST_AID_DURING_AN_ASTHMA_ATTACK

MLA (Modern Language Association) "GIVE FIRST AID DURING AN ASTHMA ATTACK." VisiHow, visihow.com/GIVE_FIRST_AID_DURING_AN_ASTHMA_ATTACK Accessed 23 Apr 2017.

Chicago / Turabian VisiHow.com. "GIVE FIRST AID DURING AN ASTHMA ATTACK." Accessed Apr 23, 2017. http://visihow.com/GIVE_FIRST_AID_DURING_AN_ASTHMA_ATTACK.

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Categories : Physical Health

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