In a medical emergency call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

The DRSABCD Action Plan is the first step when providing first aid. Use this to assess the immediate situation. DRSABCD Danger > Response > Send for help > Airway > Breathing > CPR > Defibrillation

• An asthma emergency is potentially life-threatening.
• Most people who suffer asthma attacks are aware of their asthma and should have an action plan and medication. They may wear a medical alert device.
• In an emergency, or if a patient does not have their own reliever, use another person’s reliever (if permitted under local state or territory regulations), or one from a first aid kit.
• If the patient is having difficulty breathing but has not previously had an asthma attack, follow 'What to do' below.

Signs and symptoms
Mild to moderate asthma attack:
• Increasingly soft to loud wheeze
• Persistent cough
• Minor to obvious difficulty breathing

Asthma emergency
• Symptoms get worse very quickly
• Little or no relief from inhaler
• Severe shortness of breath, focused only on breathing
• Unable to speak normally
• Pallor, sweating
• Progressively more anxious, subdued or panicky
• Blue lips, face, earlobes, fingernails
• Loss of consciousness

What to do
1 Follow DRSABCD.
2 Help the patient to sit down in a comfortable position.
3 Reassure and stay with the patient.
4 If requested, help the patient to follow their action plan.

How to give medication (4 : 4 : 4)

Use a spacer if available.

1. Give 4 separate puffs of blue/grey reliever puffer: • shake the inhaler • give 1 puff • take 4 breaths • repeat until 4 puffs have been given.

2. Wait 4 minutes.
3. If there is no improvement, give 4 more separate puffs of blue/grey reliever as above.

4. If the patient still cannot breathe normally, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. 5. Keep giving 4 puffs every 4 minutes (as above) until medical aid arrives.

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All content in Sonder's Help Centre is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Information originally published by St John Ambulance Australia.

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