Bronchial asthma is a common pathology found in 5-10% of people. Everyone knows that asthma is associated with choking, but not everyone knows how to help the patient.
Why an attack occurs
An asthma attack is most often caused by irritation of the bronchi with the following triggers:
- concentrated odors (sharp perfume, vapors of household chemicals and medicines, cosmetics);
- tobacco smoke;
- exhaust gases (for example, with their high concentration in the garage, with a long stay at the bus stop, etc.);
- the action of certain medications;
- cold air (especially in combination with physical activity, for example, when running in winter in open space);
- dust (both household and industrial).
In addition, bronchial asthma is often exacerbated by psycho-emotional stress.
How to recognize an attack?
An attack of bronchial asthma can occur suddenly or within a few minutes and even hours after exposure to factors provoking an attack. In the second case, the so-called “harbingers” of an attack are observed:
- shortness of breath with expiratory lengthening; insomnia (if the attack occurs at night);
- pruritus and/or rash;
- acute rhinitis.
Symptoms of an asthma attack:
- pale or bluish color of the skin;
- speech difficulties;
- slow, wheezing, noisy breathing with wheezing;
- forced posture (sitting, crouching and leaning on the arms);
- exhalation difficulty;
- cough with hard-to-separate viscous sputum (at the end of an attack).
Bronchial asthma: first aid
First aid for an attack is to improve the patient’s well-being before the arrival of the medical staff. Often, competent first aid can save a person’s life. So, you need to:
- make sure that all possible trigger factors are eliminated (remove the patient from the dusty, smoke-filled room, etc.);
- provide access to fresh air (open the window, loosen the necktie of the patient, unbutton his shirt, etc.);
- calm the patient;
- ask him whether he has a history of bronchial asthma (if so, he may have an inhaler or a remedy for treating an attack);
- help the patient to take an inhaler and/or take pills (atropine, aminophylline, antihistamines);
- if possible, make the patient foot or hand warm baths;
- make a distracting, warming massage of the back and/or chest.
Bear in mind that children’s bronchial asthma is usually exacerbated without bronchospasm. In this case, the main role in the development of an attack is played by the increased formation of viscous mucus and bronchial edema, as a result of which the usual inhalation aerosols are ineffective. Sometimes the symptoms of an attack in children can be alleviated and even eliminated by simply putting the patient in bed, inviting him to take a break from toys, books, etc., by calming down and making foot baths. But this is not always enough. Therefore, it may be necessary to use anti-asthma tablets (euphyllin, isodrin, etc.) in an age dosage. If the attack lasts more than half an hour, you should call an ambulance, as bronchial asthma may be complicated by the development of asthmatic status.
Tips to stop an asthma attack without an inhaler
Stopping an asthma attack is easy when you have an inhaler with a special drug on hand. In this case, it is important not to panic, inhale the medicine, relax, take a comfortable posture. Remove all tight clothing from the patient to facilitate breathing.
If you are caught without an inhaler during an attack, you can use any medication with antihistamine effect. If you have no antiallergic drugs, use folk remedies.
A mild attack can be stopped by a special solution:
- iodine (2 – 3 drops);
- boiled water (200 ml);
- soda (2 tsp.).
Make a hot solution, let the patient breathe. Once the solution has cooled, it can be used for oral administration (1 – 2 tbsp). You can put mustard plasters at the same time.
If there are no medicines on hand, you can make an onion compress to the patient. This vegetable can be found in almost every home. It is initially crushed by means of a fine grater, placed inside the bag, applied to the back (the area between the shoulder blades). The patient should be wrapped with warm blankets. You can use gruel of garlic and vegetable oil.
Accurate adherence to the sequence of actions during an asthma attack, taking into account the individual recommendations of the attending physician, will help to effectively cope with the attack. It should be noted that during severe attacks, a patient may not have wheezing in the bronchi. If you have any doubts, you need to call an ambulance as soon as possible. Delay in severe cases can lead to death.