Asthma attack guidelines update

If you have asthma – or you know someone with asthma – it’s essential to know what you should do if you or they have an asthma attack. And now, leading health charity Asthma UK has updated its advice on doing just that.

First, how do you know if you or someone you know is having an asthma attack? According to Asthma UK, it’s when any of the following happens:

  • Your reliever isn’t helping or lasting over four hours
  • Your symptoms are getting worse (cough, breathlessness, wheeze or tight chest)
  • You’re too breathless or it’s difficult to speak, eat or sleep
  • Your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you can’t get your breath in properly
  • Children may complain of a tummy ache

If you or someone else – an adult or a child – is having any of these signs, here are the recommended steps you should take:

  1. Sit up straight – don’t lie down. Try to keep calm.
  2. Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
  3. If you feel worse at any point while you’re using your inhaler or you don’t feel better after 10 puffs or you’re worried at any time, call 999 for an ambulance.
  4. If the ambulance is taking longer than 15 minutes you can repeat step 2.

The charity also stresses that this asthma attack information is not designed for people on a SMART or MART regime. If you are on a SMART or MART regime, you’re advised to speak to your GP or asthma nurse to get the correct asthma attack information.

Meanwhile, if your symptoms improve and you don’t need to call 999, it’s still important to make an urgent same-day appointment with your GP or asthma nurse. If, on the other hand, you are admitted to hospital, make an appointment with your GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of your discharge.

For more advice on managing asthma, including how to use the correct technique with asthma inhalers, speak to your local Careway pharmacist. Find your nearest pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.