Information For Patients

What to do in an Asthma Attack…

Emergency situation – What to do in an Asthma Attack

Occasionally an asthma attack may occur no matter how careful you are about taking your asthma treatment and avoiding triggers. An asthma attack normally doesn’t occur suddenly; most people find that asthma attacks are the result of a gradual worsening of symptoms over a few days. If your child’s symptoms are getting worse, do not ignore them. Quite often getting a child to use their reliever may be all that is needed to get their asthma under control again. At other times symptoms are more severe and more urgent action is required. Asthma attacks can be frightening so it is important to stay calm. If your child has an asthma attack, follow the Five Step Rule which contains the recommended steps to follow:

The Five Step Rule

During an Asthma Attack – Follow the Five Step Rule
1. Take two puffs of reliever inhaler (usually blue) immediately
2. Sit upright and stay calm.
3. Take slow steady breaths.
4. If there is no immediate improvement take one puff of reliever inhaler every minute (You can take up to 10 puffs in ten minutes – Children under 6 years can take up to 6 puffs in ten minutes)
5. Call 999 or 112 if symptoms do not improve after following steps 1 -4 OR if you are in worried.

If an ambulance does not arrive within 10 minutes repeat Step 4.

Don’t put your arm around me or lie me down – this will restrict my breathing.

Don’t worry about giving me too much reliever- during an asthma attack extra puffs of reliever medication are safe.

Do use a spacer device if one is available.

Do listen to what I am saying – I have had attacks before.

Don’t be afraid of causing a fuss, even at night. Call the doctor or an ambulance if are have any doubts about your child’s condition or if they are becoming distressed, unable to talk or are getting exhausted. If your child is admitted to hospital or an accident and emergency department because of an asthma attack, take details of your child’s treatment with you. Bring his/her asthma management plan if he/she has one to the hospital.You should also make an appointment with your doctor or nurse after your child is discharged from hospital, so that you can review your child’s asthma treatment to avoid the situation rising again.

Source: www.asthmasociety.ie