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What to do in case of an asthma attack

Updated on October 7, 2008

Some helpful tips should you witness somebody suffering an asthma attack


An asthma attack can be a very frightening experience. It definitely affects the one suffering from it the most, but the one witnessing it will surely get its share of fright as well. There are various things you can do to help someone having an asthma attack, and knowing what to do upfront will allow you to be better prepared should this occurrence take place.


During medical emergencies this is the foremost important rule to follow. Should you be agitated, the victim suffering from the asthma attack will perceive your state of mind and become agitated as well. Panic and asthma attacks do not get along. There is nothing worse than someone having an asthma attack and suffering from a panic attack as well.

Try to be cold blooded the best you can. Convert the agitation into action. Your agitation will not help anyone, instead if you take action and stay sound of mind you will be able to help the victim and the victim will perceive your state of mind.


Have the asthma attack sufferer sit erect on a chair. This is the best position to allow proper airflow. Tell the victim to relax his shoulders and loosen tight clothing. Do not allow the victim to lie down, this position does not help.


Most asthma attack sufferers take two different types of medication. One that works promptly (usually a blue inhaler) and one that prevents asthma attacks. It is easy to confuse the two when panic gets in the way. Ensure your are reaching out for the proper inhaler. The preventive medication will NOT help once an asthma attack is taking place.


Coffee has been known to open up airways and relieve asthma attacks.It works in 3 ways.

1) Studies have shown that caffeine has similar properties as asthma medications.

2) The fluid loosen up the mucus.

3) The warmth relaxes the bronchial tubes

Decaf coffee however does not work. An average adult should try to sip about 1/3 of a cup at first and see if it gives relief. If not then the rest of the cup can be taken. However, avoid giving coffee should the victim refrain from drinking it due to some medical condition or should he be taking drugs that interact with caffeine.

CALL 911

Should the symptoms not be better after following the actions above call 911.

Call 911 as well should:

The victim get worse instead of better

The victim be unable to speak

The victims' nail bed or lips turn blue

The victim appear tired

The victim be anxious and sweaty

An asthma action plan can be very helpful to be better prepared for asthma attacks. You can ask your doctor about having it prepared. It involves the use of peak flow readings along with guidelines to offer a good assessment of the situation. It is divided into 3 categories, green, yellow and red. Being in the green zone means the victim is fine, yellow suggests a mild attack but still manageable and red suggests emergency care.

Being prepared is the key to managing asthma. Always keep inhalers within reach and check for signs suggesting an emergency. And as mentioned above, it is very important to stay calm and take action. Time is the essence of controlling an asthma attack properly, so use it wisely.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor! All above tips must not be used as a substitute for medical advice. Please do not hesitate to call 911 if the asthma attack seems to not subside and actually is getting worse. This article is not to be used as a diagnostic tool nor should it delay prompt medical treatment.

Alternatives for asthma prevention


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    • profile image

      Natural health supplements 

      7 years ago

      Beautiful tips! Thanks for sharing! Take your reliever inhaler straight away, try to breathe deeply, and steadily.sit down and loosen any tight clothing. If your symptoms have not improved after five minutes, or you are worried, see a doctor urgently. Continue to take a puff of your reliever inhaler every minute until help arrives

    • shwetha123 profile image

      Shwetha Shetty 

      7 years ago

      Great hub! Very helpful


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