Asthma: How to recognise and assist someone experiencing an attack

On average 3 families will be devastated from losing a loved one today due to an asthma attack. There are 5.4 million people in the UK currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children and 4.3 million adults and the prevalence has thought to have plateaued since the late 1990’s.

Asthma is regarded by many as a common condition however many are not always aware that it can be fatal and underestimate the condition when it presents.

Asthma deaths in England and Wales since 2001

Year Age 0-14 Age 15+ Total
2001 27 1241 1268
2002 23 1241 1264
2003 22 1262 1284
2004 38 1205 1243
2005 24 1162 1186
2006 33 1049 1082
2007 19 1014 1033
2008 23 1048 1071
2009 12 1006 1018
2010 15 1007 1022
2011 15 1026 1041
2012 17 1109 1126
2013 27 1086 1113
2014 24 1090 1114
2015 18 1284 1302
2016 13 1224 1237
2017 1320

Asthma deaths in Scotland since 2001

 

Year Age 0-14 Age 15+ Total
2001 1 100 101
2002 4 127 131
2003 3 95 98
2004 1 93 94
2005 2 98 100
2006 2 80 82
2007 2 110 112
2008 4 99 103
2009 1 92 93
2010 1 90 91
2011 3 91 94
2012 3 86 89
2013 3 102 105
2014 2 70 72
2015 3 119 122
2016 1 132 133
2017 126

https://www.asthma.org.uk/about/media/facts-and-statistics/

What is Asthma

Asthma is a long term condition that affects your airways when you come into contact with what is known as a trigger factor. There are lots of trigger factors such as:

  • Allergies to pollen, dust mites, animal fur or feathers
  • environments and pollutants
  • some foods and even fragrances
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Exercise,
  • Weather such as sudden changes in temperature
  • Infection

Muscles surrounding the wind pipes in the lungs go into spasm, constrict and become clogged with sticky mucus in response to the triggers, making it very difficult for the person to breathe.

Recognition of an Asthma Attack:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Breathless, unable to speak
  • Use of muscles in the neck and upper chest when breathing
  • Grey or blue lips/fingers if attack is severe
  • Exhaustion, dizziness
  • Going unconscious and could stop breathing in a prolonged attack

What to do in an Asthma Attack

  • Sit up, lean on a table or chair if required, don’t lie down
  • Help the casualty to use their reliever inhaler, usually blue in colour they should take one puff of their reliever inhaler every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
  • Call 999 if they are not responding or not feeling better after using their inhaler
  • Be calm and reassuring
  • Encourage them to take their blue inhaler again after 15 minutes.

If you’re waiting for the ambulance for longer than 15 minutes, take one puff every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.

Important: This asthma attack information is NOT for people on a SMART or MART regime. If you are on a SMART or MART regime, speak to your GP or asthma nurse to get the right asthma attack advice for you.

Should you have employees with Asthma then ensure that your organisation has trained first aiders who have attended a First Aid at Work Course. Not sure on your first aid requirements? Make use our first aid needs assessment tool here.

Essential 6 supplies First Aid Training across the UK on companies sites and also at our training centres in Torquay and Exeter. Click here for available courses in First Aid.

2019-02-07T17:46:53+01:00
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