Asthma is a serious, yet treatable condition. Most people with asthma carry around their rescue inhaler at all times just in case they start having an asthma attack. In most cases, the inhaler will work and the person will be able to breathe. It is when a person with asthma suffers an attack and they don’t have their inhaler where things can become dangerous. If you are with a friend who is having an asthma attack and they don’t have their inhaler, there are a few things that you can do to help save their life.
Get Your Friend To Stop and Sit Up
If your friend is having an asthma attack, you should make them stop what they are doing immediately. If they continue doing what they were doing, it will only intensify the attack. Next, you should have them sit up as straight as possible. If they are bent over trying to breathe or if they are lying down, it can cause their breathing to become even more constricted.
Call For Help
Once you have your friend sitting up straight, you should call for medical attention. If you wait to call for help hoping that the attack will subside, you could be putting your friend’s life at risk. Even if they start to breathe better and the attack is over, they will still need to see a doctor after the asthma attack.
Give Your Friend a Hot, Caffeinated Beverage
If it is possible, you should get your friend a cup of hot coffee. This is not a cure, however, it can help to open the airway slightly. This will give your friend some relief and it will give them a fighting chance while you wait for help to arrive.
Advise Your Friend To Take Long, Deep Breaths
While you are waiting for help to come, it is up to you to help your friend control their breathing. You should instruct them to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth. This can slow down their breathing which can make it easier to start controlling it. Also, it will keep your friend from hyperventilating.
Keep Your Friend Calm
If you ask anyone with asthma what an attack feels like, they will tell you that it is unbelievably frightening. If your friend is having an asthma attack, you need to try to keep them calm. If they are afraid that they are going to die while they struggle for breath, it can tighten the chest muscles which can make the attack even worse. You should do everything that you can to keep your friend calm until help arrives.
Get Your Friend Away From the Trigger
Asthma attacks are often triggered by something. Severe stress and anxiety can be triggers. A few other common triggers include cigarette smoke, pet dander, and dust. There are also chemical odors that can trigger an attack such as the smell of sulfur dioxide, ammonia, and chlorine gas. As soon as the attack begins, it is important to get your friend away from the trigger as quickly as possible. If the attack was triggered by extreme stress or anxiety, try to calm your friend down. If it was caused by an environmental trigger, you should get your friend to an area where the air is clean as quickly as possible. The longer the triggers remain, the worse the attack will be.
It is important that anyone who has asthma always carries their inhaler. If your friend is having an asthma attack and they don’t have their inhaler, the tips above could save their life.