Asthma is a condition that makes breathing out difficult. It affects the air passages in the lungs and can be trigged by a variety of causes including allergy, stress or smoke.

However, there is not obvious cause to the asthma attack.
Attacks are sudden and can be alarming, both to the casualty and onlookers. Many asthmatic carry medication which they take during an asthma attack. Usually, this is taken as an inhaler.



  •  Difficulty with breathing (particularly breathing out).
  •  A wheezing sound on breathing out.
  •  Increased breathing rate.
  •  Increased pulse rate.
  •  Speaking in single words or short sentences.
  •  Increasing anxiety and restlessness.
  •  If the attack is very severe or prolonged, the casualty will become very tired and, in extreme cases, he/she collapses into unconsciousness.



  • Help the casualty to sit down and lean forward on to a table or similar support. It may be more comfortable.
  • Wherever possible, provide fresh air for the casualty.
  • Assist the casualty to use his/her inhaler.
  • Loosen any tight clothing.
  • Encourage the casualty to keep calm and to take even breaths.


When to call for help

Frequent sufferers of asthma attacks will often manage their own treatment and require little or no assistance. However, those who are not familiar with their condition or who, for some reason, have a more serious attack than usual, will generally require medical help.

If the casualty is exhausted ,send for an ambulance without delay; this also applies if breathing is very distresses. For less serious attacks, be guided by the casualty. If you call for medical assistance, wait for the doctor in case the casualty becomes worse.

In the event of an asthma attack in the street or away from home, call for an ambulance rather than letting the casualty return home to call his/her doctor.


When to call an Ambulance

  •  If the casualty is exhausted.
  •  If the casualty’s usual medication does not work.
  •  If the casualty’s breathing is very distressed.
  •  If you cannot contact the casualty’s doctor.


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