Asthma: St John Ambulance explain how to help during attack
Affecting around 5.4 million people in the UK, there’s a chance that some people haven’t kept up-to-date with their asthma action plan. For those who’ve had the condition since childhood, you may have mistakenly believed you’ve grown out of it. Considered a long-term condition by the charity Asthma UK, “most people who have asthma will always have asthma”. Even for those who have had their asthma symptoms dissipate once they reached adulthood, the condition can return in later life.
The most common symptoms of asthma include: a cough, wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness.
“You don’t need to have all these symptoms to have asthma,” added the charity.
When these symptoms aren’t relieved by using a blue inhaler, then you could be having an asthma attack.
The best position to help relieve symptoms of an asthma attack is to sit up straight – this is also the first thing you need to do in such a situation.
Then you must take one puff of your (usually blue) inhaler every 30-60 seconds, up to 10 puffs.
Asthma attacks: The best position to help relieved symptoms revealed (Image: Getty)
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If you feel worse at any point or you don’t feel better after 10 puffs, call 999 for an ambulance.
Asthma UK added: “Repeat step two after 15 minutes while you’re waiting for an ambulance.”
Another sign of an asthma attack includes wheezing a lot, having a very tight chest, and/or coughing a lot.
It’s also possible you could be having an asthma attack if you’re breathless and finding it difficult to talk or walk.
This advice differs for people on a “SMART or MART” regime, where specialised advice should be given by your GP or asthma nurse.
Asthma UK’s in-house GP, Dr Andy Whittamore, said: “Make sure you have a written asthma action plan specifically for the MART therapy you’re on.
“If you’re still not sure what to do in an asthma attack, speak to your GP or asthma nurse as soon as possible.”
You can also call the asthma UK Helpline on 0300 222 5800 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).
Common asthma triggers (Image: Express)
Anything that sets off your asthma is regarded as a trigger, and it can be personal to you.
For example, some people may suffer from asthma symptoms when they’re around animals.
Asthma sufferers have inflamed and sensitive airways, which is why it’s important to take a preventer inhaler every day.
Common asthma triggers include: colds, viruses, cigarette smoke, cold weather and pollen.
Asthma UK advises asthma sufferers to keep a journal of activities and symptoms to help identify any asthma triggers unique to you.
As well as avoiding asthma triggers, and having an asthma attack action plan, you need to go for an asthma review once a year.
If you’re unsure whether or not you have asthma, discuss your concerns with your GP.
The healthcare team will be able to conduct asthma tests to see if you do have the condition.