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How to Help Someone Having an Asthma Attack Without an Inhaler

written by: pcheatham • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 2/26/2011

Follow these quick and easy steps to learn how to help someone having an asthma attack without an inhaler.

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    Asthma can strike anyone and at any time. When a person has asthma, it is always present even when symptoms are not. Symptoms involve constricted airways and inflammation. There are many treatment medications for asthma, for which an inhaler is one. However, how to help someone having an asthma attack without an inhaler requires that you stay calm. If you are the person having the asthma attack, this may seem difficult as you are already stressing from not being able to breathe properly. However, you can follow certain steps to control your asthma long enough for you to get the help you need. Depending on what triggered the person’s asthma, you may be able to help determine the trigger and remove it to help find relief that way. For example, cigarette smoke, mold, dust and animal hair are common triggers of asthma. Ask the person if she is aware of her triggers, and try to avoid them as much as possible.

    Step 1

    Have her stay calm. Staying calm is very important because when she panics she can cause more stress on the lungs and her chest may become tighter. It is also important that you remain as calm as possible. Remind her that the calmer she is the more air can come through. Seeing you panic, will only make her react and this can cause her airways to constrict.

    Step 2

    Call for help. Call 911 or a close relative who will bring her inhaler. It is recommended that you call both, in case a relative is delayed in getting there.

    Step 3

    Sit her down in a chair or on the floor. People having an asthma attack should never lie down, as this will make it more difficult to breathe. Have her lean forward and rest her arms on a table or on you if a table isn’t available. She can turn a chair around and lean over the back of the chair. This position creates a less obstructed path for air to travel.

    Step 4

    Advise her to breathe slowly and as evenly as possible without forcing air travel. Encourage her not to rush air in or out as this will also cause her to panic from feeling the tightness in the airways. You may be able to calm her down further by breathing slowly, and calmly with her.

    Step 5

    Reserve air and wait for help to arrive. While you are waiting, never leave her side, continue to stay calm and coach her to breathe in and out evenly. To avoid the possibility of her becoming more winded, do not encourage her to walk.

    While waiting for help to arrive, staying calm and conserving air are important steps in helping someone having an asthma attack without an inhaler.

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    References

    Asthma.com: Main Causes of Asthma - http://www.asthma.com/learn/main-causes-of-asthma.html

    LiveStrong.com: How to Handle an Asthma Attack Without an Inhaler -http://www.livestrong.com/article/18145-handle-asthma-attack-inhaler/

    eHow Video: How to Handle an Asthma Attack Without an Inhaler by Nancy Bennett, Nurse and Respiratory Care Practitioner