Children simply love to explore the environment but they have under-developed motor and sensory skills. Moreover, they simply do not have value for safety. These factors put children at increased risk for accidents and injuries.
For many first time parents, providing first aid for common injuries and emergencies at home is rather challenging. Aside from knowing the proper first aid techniques, you need to have composure and confidence in handling the situation.
Even a seemingly uneventful injury, such as bump on the child’s head or a cut, can lead to serious complications if the child does not receive appropriate first aid immediately or receives the wrong first aid. Taking a basic first aid course is one great way of avoiding panic and being prepared to handle emergency situations at home. First aid courses will equip you with lifesaving skills, at the same time increase your awareness on how to keep your child safe.
If you haven’t taken a first aid course yet, you should at least know how to respond in the following first aid situations and avoid the common first aid mistakes.
1. Head injury – Don’t move the child, unless it is absolutely necessary. Signs of possible head injury include obvious trauma to the head, loss of consciousness, headache, or stiff neck. Call 911 or your local emergency phone number.
2. Burns and scalds – Don’t apply anything on the affected site. Instead, place the burn under cool running water. Cover it with a clean piece of cloth or bandage. Call 911 or bring your child to the nearest emergency department for severe burns, otherwise you can call your GP for instructions.
3. Poisoning – If the child has ingested poison or you suspect ingestion of poison, don’t give anything by mouth including ipecac syrup, unless instructed by your local poison control or doctor to do so. Call your local poison control for instructions.
4. Knocked out tooth – Don’t force the tooth back into the socket. Instead, carefully rinse the tooth making sure not to severe its blood vessels. Keep the knocked-out tooth in a cup of milk and bring it with your child to dentist immediately.
5. Stuck objects – If foreign body gets stuck in the child’s nose or ears, don’t attempt to remove it. Never use hairpins or swabs to swipe away the stuck item as it can only push it deeper. Call your GP for instructions.
6. Nosebleeds – Don’t let the child stare upward or lean back in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Instead, instruct him to sit upright leaning forward and pinch the nasal bridge until the nosebleed stops. If bleeding persists for more than 10 minutes despite first aid, or if you think the child had swallowed a lot of blood, bring him to the emergency department.
7. Sprains – Don’t apply warm compress or heating pad on a sprain. Instead, use ice or cold compress to minimize swelling and help reduce pain. Make sure to wrap the ice with a cloth or towel. Never apply ice directly on the skin. If the joint appears broken or fractured, such as when it cannot be moved or can’t put weight on, bring the child to the ER.
8. Seizures – Don’t put anything in the child’s mouth. Assist the child to the floor and position him on his side. Protect the child’s head by placing a soft object beneath. Loosen tight clothing, especially around the neck. Call 911 if seizure does not stop or becomes recurrent.
9. Bee sting – Be sure to remove the stinger from the skin and cleanse the affected area with soap and water. Apply ice pack to minimize swelling and closely monitor the child for possible severe allergic reactions such as difficult breathing, hives, and itchiness. If any of these symptoms occur, bring the child to the emergency department immediately.
10. Eye problems – If dirt or debris gets to the eye of your child, don’t let him rub his eyes. Instead, run it under flowing water.
Serious injuries can be frightening, particularly if breathing or circulation is impaired. As the first responder on the scene, the athletic trainer (or any clinician with first aid training) is expected to evaluate the situation, assess the severity of injury, recognize life-threatening conditions, provide immediate emergency care, and initiate any emergency procedures to ensure the individual is transported to the nearest medical facility without delay.
An emergency medical services (EMS) system is a well-developed process that activates the emergency health care services of the athletic training facility and community to provide immediate care to an injured individual. Every athletic training facility should develop a plan that details the activation of their EMS system. The emergency medical plan should be a written document that is comprehensive yet flexible enough to adapt to any emergency situation at any activity venue. The plan should identify the following general principles: (1) The personnel, with their qualifications, needed to perform responsibilities in executing the plan. (2) Equipment needed to carry out the tasks required in the event of an emergency. (3) Mechanism of communication to the emergency care providers, and the mode of transportation for the patient. (4) The facilities to which the patient will be taken, including how and when those facilities will be notified in advance of the scheduled event or contest. (5) Documentation verifying the implementation and evaluation of the emergency plan, actions taken during the emergency, evaluation of the emergency response, and institutional personnel training. (6) Documentation of an annual review and rehearsal of the emergency plan, and notations indicating whether the emergency plan was modified and, if so, how the plan was changed.
Every institution/facility should have an emergency response team. The designated emergency response team should meet with representatives from local EMS agencies to discuss, develop, and evaluate the facility’s emergency plan. As part of this process, individual responsibilities and protocols for an emergency situation should be determined. In developing the emergency medical plan, it is important to recognize that in any given situation, the members of the emergency response team can vary. The following questions should be addressed relative to each event: What emergency equipment must be available? What equipment will be provided by the local EMS agency (e.g., spine board and splints) if in attendance at an event? Who will be responsible for ensuring that the emergency equipment is operational? What type of communication will be used to contact emergency personnel? Who will activate the facility’s emergency medical plan? Who will assess the injured individual on-site, and under what circumstances will a local EMS agency be called to the site? If a physician is present, what are the responsibilities of other medical personnel (e.g., athletic trainer and emergency medical technician)? If a physician is not present and the athletic trainer is evaluating the situation, what are the responsibilities of emergency medical technicians responding to the situation? If it becomes necessary to stabilize and transport an individual to a medical facility, who will direct the stabilization, and what protocol will be followed for the removal of protective equipment? Who will supervise other participants if the athletic trainer is assessing and providing care to an injured individual? Who will be responsible for the proper disposal of items and equipment exposed to blood or other bodily fluids?
A written emergency plan should be developed for each activity site to address these questions. The emergency response team should practice the emergency plan through regular educational workshops and training exercises. The use of interactive or simulation practice exercises can better prepare individuals to assume their roles in rendering emergency care.
Shingles refers to a viral infection characterized by a painful rash that usually appears on the left or right side of the torso. However, rashes can occur on any part of the body.
The viral infection is caused by the virus, varicella-zoster, which is a virus that also causes chicken pox. After having chicken pox a person have still have the virus in his nerve tissue, generally near his spinal cord or brain, in inactive form. The virus then becomes active again after many years and causes shingles.
Shingles is not a life-threatening condition; however the rash can be very painful. Preventive measures include vaccinations that may reduce the risk of developing the infection. Early treatment is necessary to shorten the period of infection and also significantly reduce the chances of developing further complications.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of shingles are generally present on certain regions of the body. They may include:
- Pain and discomfort – a burning sensation
- Numbness or tingling
- A red rash that develops after pain
- Fluid-filled blisters that rupture and form crusts
Less common symptoms include:
- Fever and chills
The initial symptom of shingles is usually just pain, which can be intense for many people. Sometimes, due to the location of the pain, it may be wrongly considered as a symptom for a problems associated with the lungs, heart or kidneys. However, in any case, medical attention must be sought.
In some cases, shingles may only give rise to pain without the arrival of any rashes on the body.
Rashes associated with shingles typically develop after a band of blisters that cover the left or right part of the torso. However, rashes can also appear on one side of the face, on one side or the neck or one eye.
When to seek medical attention
See your doctor immediately after you realize you have shingles. Make sure you seek prompt medical assistance if any of the following cases:
- You are 65 years or older. This means your chances of developing complications are higher therefore, treatment should be performed immediately
- A rash takes place near your eye. This may result in permanent damage to the eye, if left untreated
- You have a weakened immune system due to some chronic illness, cancer, chemotherapy or medications
- The rash occurs on various or large regions of your body and is painful
Shingles has no cure; however, quick treatment with the administration of antivirals may speed up the healing process and reduce the risk of shingles complications.
Medications may include Acyclovir, Valacyclovir or Famciclovir.
Medications for main may include anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, narcotic medications or numbing agents.
Home remedies can be performed with medical treatment. Taking a cool bath and applying cool, wet compresses to blisters always helps in relieving pain.
First Aid Certification teaches the knowledge and skills necessary to treat various emergencies. But what next? This article will cover what to do after you’ve given the necessary immediate treatment, and what to do after.
Once you have treated your patients’ condition, you should continue to reassure them and listen to them. The Red Cross First Aid manual recommends that you avoid moving them unnecessarily. Don’t ask the patient lots of questions and keep the area clear and free from crowds of onlookers.
However, some questions will be useful to ask in order to pass on to the emergency services. Try to take the patients history of what happened. This could be from the patient themselves, or from any bystanders who witnessed the event.
Continue to monitor the patient, checking their vital signs – responsiveness, pulse and breathing. Stay with them until emergency assistance arrives so you can treat them if they deteriorate.
It would also be useful for someone to contact the patients family. A global campaign which began in the UK and has spread worldwide encouraged people to have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) Contact in their mobile phones. This is the number of the patients next of kin who should be contacted in an emergency.
If you look through the patients personal belongings, for example for their phone, identification or clues to their condition, try to do this with a reliable witness. Ensure all of their belongings accompany the patient to hospital or they must be handed over to the police.
Some patients with known conditions have information on medical cards, bracelets, lockets, key rings or medallions. Look for these items in order to gain the patients history. Other items in their personal belongings may also give clues such as medications, inhalers, medicine pens, or any hospital or clinic appointment cards or letters.
First Aid Classes advise that the patient should not take anything orally if they need to be transferred to hospital or if it is possible that they could have internal injuries. The patient should also not smoke.
Medication should only be given if the patient has their own. It is best to wait for specialist assistance as the wrong medication may put the patient at risk. If the patient does have their own medication, it is important to determine that it is appropriate for their condition, not out of date, taken as prescribed and the recommended dose is not exceeded. You should make note of what medication is taken including the name, dose, time and method.
When the emergency services arrive, be prepared to hand over the patient and give them as much useful information as possible. Valuable information includes:
- patients name and address if known
- history of the incident or condition
- brief description of any injuries
- any unusual behaviour
- any treatment given and when
- level of response, pulse and breathing
Writing this information down is ideal however try to remember as much as you can if a pen and paper is not available.
First aid training is a very important skill that can come in handy for a number of important life situations. Most of the time, people take first aid and CPR courses because it’s a requirement for their job but this is a skill that everyone should be encouraged to learn. For those who’re interested, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about getting a certification.
1. How long will a Red Cross certification remain valid?
It would depend on the type of certification you have. Certifications for CPR/AED and First Aid are valid for up two years, while Lifeguarding and First Aid certifications are good for up to three years. However, you should be aware of your State and Local Department of Health directives. In some areas, lifeguards have to get re-certified every year.
2. How can I renew my expired Red Cross certification?
Before being given a certification renewal, almost all Red Cross courses would require that you take a Review or Challenge course. A former is just a simple review course and a test while the latter is completely a test course with no teaching or reviewing. There are specific guidelines to the re-certification that you’re planning to take.
- First Aid & CPR/AED and CPR/AED for Professional Rescuer:
The applicant should have a current Red Cross certificate or its equivalent; those without one can’t join the review course. You can join a review course until a year after your certificate expires, but not anymore if it’s been expired for more than a year. In this situation, you’re required to go through either a full course or the challenge course.
- Lifeguarding/First Aid:
Lifeguards can participate in a review course if one’s Red Cross Lifeguard certificate is still current. Those with a current certificate or an expired one that’s not more than a year old can take the challenge course.
3. Can a nurse or doctor who’s not currently certified just take a review course since they already have intensive on-the-job experience?
No. Review courses are exclusively for those whose certification is current. But taking the Challenge course will certify a nurse or doctor.
4. It has been years since I studied CPR. Can I just take do a Review?
Similar with nurses or doctors who are not certified, you can’t take a Review course unless your certification is current.
5. I studied CPR with the American Heart Association. Can I take a review course under the American Red Cross?
Yes, if your certification still falls within the first year of issue. Certifications under the American Heart Association are valid for two years but the American Red Cross is just for a year.
6. I got my CPR certification while I was living abroad but it’s from that country’s Red Cross chapter. Will it be recognized in the US?
Unfortunately, certifications received from Red Cross chapters abroad aren’t recognized in the US. However, if you feel that you can pass the written and practical test, you can enroll in a Challenge course to be American Red Cross certified.
Gina* is a Psychology professor. She was in the middle of giving a lecture on Sigmund Freud when suddenly she started feeling slightly dizzy. She disregarded it, thinking it was just another one of those headaches which will eventually turn into migraine. She told herself that she would just drink medicine after class. As she continued, however, her students started giving confused looks. She continued lecturing despite this until one of her students raised her hand and pointed out that she was slurring her words. Gina did not understand. She thought her thoughts were intact and she didn’t realize that she was slurring her words. Gina excused herself from class and went to the comfort room where she noticed that the right side of her face was drooping. Gina suffered from a mild stroke. Thankfully, she was back teaching by the next week. This was a true story.
Similar to heart attack and cardiac arrest, strokes occur anytime of the day, to anyone who may be doing nothing or something. According to the John Hopkins Medicine (ND), stroke is more common in men than in women at every age. However, more women die of strokes each year, as compared to men due to their longer life span.
So what exactly is stroke and why is it considered a medical emergency when one shows symptoms of stroke? The brain is the control system of the body and in order for the brain to keep working, it must consistently receive blood flow to receive the oxygen and nutrients coming from the blood. Therefore, when the arteries that lead the blood to the brain is either blocked or ruptured, a region of the brain does not receive the blood it needs causing brain cells to die.
There are three types of stroke: hemorrhagic, ischemic, and transient ischemic. Hemorrhagic stroke results from ruptured blood vessels with bleeding into the tissue of the brain. The more common kind of stroke is the ischemic stroke wherein part of the brain is stripped of blood flow, generally due to blood clot or blockage of artery due to atherosclerosis. Lastly, transient ischemic attack is comparable to an ischemic stroke having similar causes. However, symptoms disappear and last only five to ten minutes long (John Hopkins Medicine ND). Get a CPR A and AED courses online to start your final training.
According to British Red Cross (ND), the key skill to first aid for stroke is to carry out the FAST test. Can weakness be spotted on one side of the face? Can both arms be raised? Can their speech be understood? It is time to call for an emergency response team. If one side of the face is dropped (drooping eyes and mouth), unable to lift one or both arms and keep them raised, and having garbled or slurred speech, then yes, it is probably time to seek for medical help. However, the University of Arizona (ND) claims that there is a new sign for stroke. If the tongue goes to one side, or crooked, this may also be indicative of a stroke.
The aforementioned skills to determining the signs of stroke can be learned in first aid training, along with other several courses offered by Red Cross programs. Stroke shows us that it is always important to think fast while the minutes last. You have to call for the nearest AED provider near you to save the life of the victim.
*not her real name
John Hopkins Medicine [Internet]. ND. Stroke. Baltimore (MD): John Hopkins University; [cited 2013 Jun 06].
Available from: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/specialty_areas/cerebrovascular/conditions/stroke.html
British Red Cross [Internet]. ND. Everyday first aid. London (UK): Red Cross; [cited 2013 Jun 06].
Available from: http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/First-aid/Everyday-First-Aid/Fast-first-aid-tips
All victims of an emergency have some degree of fear at their experience. Children and infants are usually more fearful because of their lack of knowledge and experience in order to understand the injury and illness. In addition, the child has fear of the unknown. Since everything is new to the child, they can easily get frightened. The child does not fully understand his immediate environment. All the noise, pain, cold, intense emotions, and changes in the environment can set off a reaction of pure panic for the child. Prevent from having undesirable events by enrolling to CPR and AED courses. You can have this in Vancouver and you can also find it online.
Moreover, the lack of communication skills of the child can make things even scarier. In an emergency situation, if the child feels or finds that you do not understand him, a growing fear gradually develops. For the child to be able to communicate, he must stay calm. This should be the goal of your emergency care.
Always remember that any fear the child experiences are compounded if the parents are not around. Children feel secure by interacting with their parents when facing emergencies or new situations. Usually, the first concern of the child is to find his parents, even above that of treating the injuries.
When providing first aid for a child, you should:
- Introduce yourself to the child. Keep it very simple by using your first name.
- Reassure him that someone will call his parents.
- Provide distraction; such as when there is a toy, allow him to play with it.
- Sit or kneel with the child so that you are not towering over him.
- Maintain your smile always. It may be very simple, but for the child it can be very reassuring.
- Hold the child’s hand and touch his head. If the child does not want to be held, he will tell you. Do not insist on holding the child; simply smile and talk with the child.
- Do not let the child see clamps, scissors, or other equipment and tool. Most children perceive it to cause pain.
- Let the child see your face and maintain eye contact. Speak clearly and directly to the child. Do not assume that the child understand what you are saying; validate it by asking the child periodically.
- Determine any life-threatening problems and provide necessary first aid. If there are no serious injuries, proceed with your assessment and interview the child in a relaxed manner. Children may get frightened and overwhelmed by a rapidly paced interview or physical examination.
- Always tell the child what you will do before actually doing it. Avoid giving lengthy explanation or interviews. Explain each step one-by-one.
- Do not lie to the child. For example, if he will feel pain during a physical exam, tell him so. However, always provide reassurance that you are there to help and will not leave him.
- Lastly, you have to go to a Standard Childcare First Aid Course as well.
Finally, when providing first aid for pediatric emergencies, be sure to have your emotions in check. Most people may feel extra anxious finding a child in such situations.
These days, people are becoming more aware of the importance of learning first aid and CPR. An increasing number of people are enrolling in CPR courses for the first time in their lives and quite a big number are taking refresher courses to update themselves with the newest lifesaving techniques.
Despite the popularity and importance of First Aid and CPR courses, a lot of people are still wary about taking it, unsure of what happens in class and what’s required of them. This article will hopefully shed light on some of the frequently asked questions regarding CPR.
- What happens during a CPR class? First Aid and CPR classes are often conducted for free or for a minimal fee in most towns; you just need to search for the most ideal time and package for you. Once you have registered for a class, you’ll be asked to go to the designated area where the class will be held. This can be in a hospital, a gym, a school or even in the fire station.
After settling in, you’ll be given a manual and materials that you’ll be using during the class (ex. gloves, a plastic mouth shield, wet wipes). The instructor will then go over the material with you and show you videos to further expound on what you read about.
Once the class is done with the theoretical aspect, the practical part comes in. You and your classmates will be made to practice what you’ve learned on a practice dummy. An exam is administered after and if you pass it, you’ll get a certification card.
- What’s taught in CPR courses? A lot of basic and useful information are taught in these classes which are all of great importance. If you enroll in a CPR course, you’ll be given an overview of how to treat abrasions, burns, cuts and sprains, how to check if the area is safe for you and the victim, how or when to move the victim and what information to give 911 personnel or medical responders. You will also be taught how to do the Heimlich maneuver on adults, children, infants and on yourself. Students in these classes will also be taught the right way to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. You’ll also be trained on how to use automated external defibrillators or AEDs.
- Is CPR difficult to learn? CPR is not a difficult skill to learn. The knowledge and skills taught in CPR classes can be learned by any adult or teenager. That being said, how closely you listen to and observe your instructors will determine how fast you’ll learn CPR.
- Does CPR actually save lives? Yes. Studies conducted by the American Heart Association have estimated that around 100,000 to 200,000 victims could be saved every year if CPR is performed immediately and correctly.
- Can CPR lead to death if not done correctly? Technically no, since a victim in cardiac arrest is clinically dead. But CPR, even if not done perfectly, can still help the victim.
Taking First Aid and CPR courses might feel cumbersome in our increasingly hectic and busy life. But it’s one skill that you’ll be glad you took the time to learn.
Almost every parent I know has pored over numerous books trying to learn the best way to raise their children. However, one of the most important things that parents should study but often forget is essential first aid skills. While some situations simply call for a band-aid and a kiss to make the booboo better, there are instances when a parent’s quick thinking and know-how can mean the difference between their child’s life or death. Here are the first aid skills that every parent should ideally know -
Most paramedics use the term cardiac arrest as a euphemism for death since the heart, in essence, is no longer pumping in this condition. Cardiac arrest can be caused by a number of reasons and CPR is the best and only first aid treatment for this. This is why people are encouraged to enroll in CPR courses. Who knows, the life you save might be your child’s.
Using an Epi Pen
Severe allergic reactions cause the death of thousands of people each year, and some of these allergies are caused by innocuous things like bees, peanuts, pollen or shellfish, leading to anaphylactic shock and worse when not treated immediately. Using an Epi-Pen is the best way to stop anaphylaxis. Parents with children who have allergies should have several Epi-Pens handy and should know how to use them.
Doing the Heimlich Maneuver
Most people’s reaction to someone choking during dinner would be to just look on in embarrassment and panic. The Heimlich Maneuver is one of the first emergency technique taught at First Aid and CPR courses. It prevents suffocation caused by a blocked windpipe and can be done on older people and children. You can even perform this lifesaving procedure on yourself.
Treating a Choking Baby
Babies are admittedly curious about their world and would put anything in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. While the Heimlich Maneuver can be done on everyone, babies are an exception as they’re built differently and more delicately. Luckily, there are several ways to treat a baby under 12 months so parents should make it their mission to know them.
How to Stop Bleeding
Bleeding can be quickly controlled with just two steps – pressure and elevation. Unfortunately, most people freak out at the sight of blood. It’s during these situations that parents should keep a level head and follow the easy steps to stop bleeding.
How to Treat Low Blood Sugar
Knowing how to treat low blood sugar is also a crucial skill to learn. Some people might argue that not everyone is affected by low blood sugar, but you’ll never know if someone is a diabetic (unless they have that information written somewhere on them). Unknown to many, low blood sugar can kill so parents should also know how to deal with this situation.
Knowing the Signs and Treatment of Hypothermia
Treating hypothermia should start as soon as you see or feel it. A victim suffering from hypothermia often exhibit symptoms like shivering, confusion or slurred speech, drowsiness, numb hands or feet or loss of consciousness. The first thing parents should do in this case is to slowly restore warmth. Getting the child indoors, taking off wet clothing, wrapping the person up in a warm blanket are some of the things you can do.
While books on parenting and child development are chockfull of useful information, nothing beats lessons learned from professionals. Taking First Aid and CPR courses is one way to ensure that we can be there for our family anytime.
About 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma and about 250,000 die from the disease each year. There is an increasing trend of asthma incidence and people living in developed countries are affected most. It is a chronic inflammatory disease condition characterized by hyper-responsiveness of small airways in lungs to various allergenic substances present in inhaled air.
Most asthmatics have a genetic predisposition that they are sensitive to various allergens which normal people can tolerate. This hyper sensitivity triggers an overwhelming immune reaction against such allergens upon exposure to leading to widespread spasm, increased mucous secretion and swelling of small airways in lungs. As a result airways get narrower and it becomes more difficult to breath. Usually the expiration becomes more difficult than inspiration. Apart from difficulty in breathing, these changes can give rise to a persistent dry cough and a characteristic sound heard from patient’s chest on expiration called wheeze.
An attack of asthma can be precipitated by:
- Allergens – pollen, house dust mite, dust, smoke, animal fur
- Upper respiratory tract infection –e.g. common cold
- Cold air – winter season
- Cigarette smoke
- Some medications
While an attack of asthma can present as persisting dry cough at night or early morning, some wheeze and mild chest tightness; acute severe asthma can be very frightening and life threatening experience for the person. There is severe narrowing of airways leading to difficulty in breathing as well as difficulty in oxygen transfer to lungs. Initially the patient will try to breathe rapidly using all accessory chest muscles to compensate this, but with time this effort will cause fatigue and patient (especially children) may stop breathing, which can prove fatal unless urgently intervened. Asthma attack can occur within minutes of exposure to the allergen or it can be delayed hours depending on the type of immune mechanisms involved.
Signs and symptoms of acute severe asthma
- Difficulty in breathing with prolonged expiration phase.
- High rate of respiration. (>30 cycles/min in adults)
- Characteristic wheeze during expiration.
- Severe cough
- Difficulty in speaking, sleeping and feeding due to cough or rapid breathing.
- Anxiety and distress.
- Patient will be seated or leaning forwards with hands clenching on to some support (e.g. chair) and will breathe with very high effort.
- Features of hypoxia – bluish tinge in lips, tongue and nail beds (cyanosis)
Signs of life threatening asthma
If a patient having above features begins to show those stated below means that he/she is exhausted on effort to breathe and soon may stop breathing altogether.
- Low rate of respiration.
- Silent chest.
- Deep cyanosis
- Patient looks lethargic and exhausted
- Altered level of consciousness
First aid management for Asthma Attack
- Reassure the patient and calm him/her down.
- If the patient shows signs of acute severe or life threatening asthma call for medical help urgently.
- Encourage patient to take slow and deep breaths as much as possible. Take the patient away from a cold environment, loose tight clothing and ensure adequate ventilation.
- Help the patient to sit in a position that they find most comfortable to breathe; leaning forward with arms resting on a table or back of a chair helps most.
- Do not lie the patient down as it increases effort on breathing.
- If the patient has a blue colored reliever inhaler, help him/her to use it. Usually up to 5 consecutive puffs can be taken every 5 – 10 minutes during a severe attack depending on the type of inhaler and the response.
- When taking the inhaler, patient’s lips must cover and seal the mouthpiece of the device and must breathe in as much as possible while releasing the drug. Then the breath should be held as much as possible. If patient has a spacer device (specially children and elderly) connect it to the inhaler for better drug delivery to the lungs.
- A mild to moderate attack of asthma can be managed with inhalers alone.
- Check the patients breathing, pulse rate and level of consciousness regularly.
- If the patient loses consciousness attend to maintenance of airway.
- If patient stops breathing start CPR immediately and continue until medical help arrives.
Prevention of asthma exacerbations
- Keep the house clean, vacuum out dust regularly.
- Avoid carpets in house.
- Avoid pets with fur and feathers
- Use a bed made of synthetic materials.
- Change bed sheets and pillow cases regularly.
- Keep away from dust and smoke as much as possible.
- Use asthma controller medications (if prescribed) regularly.