Asthma: What it is and what to do when an attack occurs

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According to Asthma UK, there are 5.4 million people with asthma in the UK – 1.1. million children and 4.3 million adults. From research carried out by Asthma UK someone has a serious attack every 10 seconds.

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways, causing them to tighten and go into spasm, making it difficult for the sufferer to breathe.

Asthma attacks can be overwhelming and frightening, not only for the sufferer but those around them trying to help. So, it’s important that you remain calm and reassure the casualty as reducing the stress and keeping them calm helps to keep their symptoms under control.

What causes Asthma:

There are many different triggers for asthma attacks, and these include allergies, stress, exercise, exposure to cold and flu viruses, weather, house dust mites, pollution. Sufferers who are prone to hay fever also start to notice its seasonal effects.

Symptoms of Asthma:


Wheezy Breathing

Signs of Distress and Anxiety

Difficulty breathing

Struggling to speak

Hypoxia and Cyanosis


  • Sit the person down in the most comfortable position to assist with their breathing (Ideally, sat on the floor in an upright position). Try to keep them calm and reassure them.
  • Ask them to use their reliever inhaler (usually blue) to take one or two puffs.
  • Encourage them to take slow, steady breaths.
  • If there is no sign of improvement, or you’re worried at any time, call 999 or 112 for an ambulance immediately.

Interested in learning first aid?

Why not attend one of our First Aid Courses in High Wycombe and Marlow that we run regularly.

We can also come in-house to your office or place of work at a date and time that suits your requirements to run a workplace first aid course.

Get in touch for more details.

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