5 Easy First-Aid Techniques to Help a Patient During an Asthma Attack!
By: Rukmini Chopra
Published On: May 03, 2018
According to a study by the World Health Organization, nearly 20 million people in India suffer from Asthma. The condition is more prevalent amongst children between the ages of 5 and 11. Where pollution, pollen and dust, smoking are known to be the common causes for Asthma in India, other factors such as anxiety, anger issues, depression etc. are also known to cause Asthma- a fact that some people are oblivious to. Many of us are aware of what an Asthmatic patient experiences when having an attack- heavy breathing, coughing and wheezing, difficulty while speaking. But as aware as we are regarding symptoms of Asthma, we need to know how to help someone during an asthmatic attack, especially when caught in situations when there is no inhaler around to provide relief to the patient.
The common ways to help out an Asthmatic patient include helping him/her sit up for better breathing, loosening tight clothes to provide some comfort to the patient, keeping calm during attack, making the patient undergo some breathing exercises, etc.
While these are mandatory practices to be followed during an attack, there are some tactics that are equally effective but not very well known. For example, did you know that you can use acupressure to help relax the tightening of the muscles during an attack?
There are many such tactics that can provide relief to an asthmatic patient. But it is important to note that these methods should only be practiced if the patient is having a minor asthma attack. In case of a severe attack, it is vital that you take the concerned person to a nearby hospital immediately.
On World Asthma Day, here’s a look at some of these methods that you can apply.
Change the location: It’s a basic must do that is missed!
Image credit: wikihow
While we may get busy tending to the asthmatic patient, we need to keep in mind that the condition can be triggered due to several factors such as dust, a pet, smoke, an irritant like a deodorant or an air freshener, etc.
The most basic thing to do is to move the patient away from the environment. But most of us might forget this step in the urgency to help the person.
If you can’t move the person, then put a clean cloth or a scarf on his/her mouth to facilitate proper breathing.
Apply acupressure to relax the tightened muscles
Image credit: wellnesstcm
As we mentioned above, acupressure can help a great deal during an attack. The areas that you should be tackling are the front parts of the person’s inner shoulders (just above the armpits) and the outer edges of the elbow creases (keep the patient’s elbows bent). You need to keep applying pressure till the person appears relaxed and the breathing becomes consistent.
You can read more about the important acupressure points for treating Asthma here.
A hot shower can work wonders
You can help the patient to a hot shower. The steam from the boiling water helps in loosening mucus, and providing relief to the person. If the patient is not in a position to take a shower, then hot running water helps too.
Magnesium and vitamin C tablets can come to your rescue!
Surprised? Yes, it has been observed that taking 500 mg of magnesium and 1000 mg of vitamin C may work in cases of adults. It is advisable for children between the ages 10 to 17, to take half the doses and those below the age of 9 should take one-third.
Magnesium is a bronchodilator (a substance that dilates the bronchi) and vitamin C has antihistamine (helps in treating allergic reactions) that helps during asthma attacks. These tablets however should be consumed ONLY with your doctor’s consult.
Turmeric, ginger, coffee- use your daily ingredients as asthma-relief agents
Curcumin is turmeric main component that reduces the inflammation of the airways. Turmeric is also an effective antimicrobial (kills microorganisms) agent. Make the drink water with ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder in it.
A cup of coffee is the quickest way to treat an asthmatic patient
Coffee clears the airways in an instant and provides relief. This ingredient too acts as a bronchodilator and is known to be the fastest and most effective method.
Ginger helps in calcium uptake, in turn providing relief from Asthma
Ginger is used most commonly to tend to an asthma patient. It’s anti-inflammatory properties act as a relief agent and the ingredient increases calcium uptake, relaxing the constriction within the body.
Put grated ginger in a cup of water. Straind the water and add honey to it. Make the patient drink at regular intervals.
In case of an emergency, please take/guide the patient to the nearest hospital.
So next time you come across someone suffering from an asthma attack, don’t panic, try and test these simple remedies to help the patient.
Have you helped an asthma patient before? Write to us with how you helped them at firstname.lastname@example.org.