~ Weekly Health Advice from PMGH – Asthma – Part 2 of 4 ~

Missed part 1? Head to the PMGH Facebook timeline and scroll down.

Symptoms of Asthma
Common symptoms of asthma include:
– Coughing (especially at night, during exercise or when laughing)
– Chest tightness
– Shortness of breath
– Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound in your chest when breathing, especially when exhaling)
Tip: If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above talk to your doctor. If diagnosed with asthma develop an asthma management plan with your doctor. Any asthma symptom is serious and can become deadly if left untreated.

Asthma Emergency
Asthma Australia: Any person with asthma can have a flare-up or worsening of asthma symptoms at any time. A sudden or severe flare-up is often called an asthma attack. An asthma flare-up or attack may develop very rapidly over a few minutes, or it may take a few hours or even days to happen. Having good control of your asthma means this is less likely, but it can still happen. Reduce your risk of an asthma flare-up by taking your asthma medicine as advised, being aware of your symptoms and responding quickly when they get worse, following a written asthma action plan, having regular reviews with your doctor and asking them to check you’re using your inhaler well.
You may be having an asthma flare-up or attack if:
– You have asthma symptoms that are getting worse
– Your reliever puffer isn’t helping or is lasting less than four hours
– Your symptoms are making it difficult to eat, speak or sleep
– You feel like you can’t get your breath in properly
– Children may complain of a sore tummy or chest, or be more restless
(Start asthma first aid as soon as possible)

Asthma First Aid:
Step 1: sit the person upright
– be calm and reassuring
– do not leave them alone
Step 2: give 4 separate puffs of reliever puffer
– shake puffer
– put 1 puff into spacer
– take 4 breaths from spacer
– repeat until 4 puffs have been taken
Remember: shake, 1 puff, 4 breaths
Step 3: Wait 4 minutes
if there is no improvement give 4 more puffs as above
Step 4: If there is no improvement seek emergency assistance.
Keep giving 4 separate puffs every 4 minutes until emergency assistance is sought.
Please note: If your symptoms improve you still need to make an appointment to see your doctor, preferably the same day.

You should seek emergency assistance if the person:
– is not breathing
– the person’s asthma suddenly becomes worse or is not improving
– the person is having an asthma attack, and a reliever is not available
– you are not sure if it’s asthma
– the person is known to have Anaphylaxis – follow their Anaphylaxis Action Plan, then give them Asthma First Aid (see above)