Asthma Attack: What It Looks Like and How To Help

Asthma is a medical condition that a person can be born with or can develop later in life, but is most common in children and young adults. When someone has an asthma attack, their air passages (throat, trachea, bronchioles) constrict, spasm, and secrete mucous. This makes it very hard for the person to breath.

Prevention of Asthma

Although there really is no prevention to asthma, the best approach is for the person can to avoid the situations which may trigger an attack.

Causes of an Asthma Attack

There are many things that can trigger an asthma attack. This includes:

  • Physical or emotional stress.
  • Dust, pollen, perfumes, pollution, and other airborne substances.
  • Dry, cold air.
  • Hot, humid air.
  • Allergic reaction to a drug or insect sting.

Signs and Symptoms of an Asthma Attack

  • Coughing, wheezing while exhaling.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Pale cyanotic skin color, especially around the lips.
  • Weak and tired.
  • Anxiety.
  • Unconsciousness.

First Aid for an Asthma Attack

If you believe someone is having an asthma attack, you should:

  • Confirm their condition and assist them in taking their medication.
  • If they don't have medication, or it is not working, immediately call 9-1-1.
  • Remove the person from the cause of the attack e.g. hot stuffy room, smoke-filled room.
  • Make the person comfortable.
  • If they become unconscious, and you are trained, begin rescue breathing and/or CPR.
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