What to do in an asthma attack

If a person has an asthma attack or you suspect they are having an attack, you should take immediate action.

Woman having difficulty breathing

Asthma attacks can be frightening and dangerous experiences. They can happen when symptoms get worse over a number of days or hours or can happen suddenly, even when someone is taking their medication and avoiding their triggers.

If a person has an asthma attack or you suspect they are having an attack, you should take immediate action.

Boy taking inhaler during sports

If you think you're having and asthma attack:

Follow the 5 Step Rule

This is an emergency - act now.

1. Stay calm. Sit up straight - do not lie down.

2. Take slow steady breaths.

3. Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every minute.

Use a spacer if available.

                People over 6 years can take up to 10 puffs in 10 minutes.

                Children under 6 can take up to 6 puffs in 10 minutes.

4. Call 112 or 999 if your symptoms do not improve after 10 minutes.

5 Repeat step 3 if an ambulance has not arrived in 10 minutes.

 

Remember if someone is having an asthma attack:

Do not leave them on their own.

Extra puffs of reliever inhaler (usually blue) are safe.

 

Attack Card

How do I know if it’s an Asthma Attack?

If someone is having an asthma attack they will have one or a combination of any of the symptoms below:

  • Cough

  • Wheeze

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest tightness

  • Too breathless to finish a sentence

  • Too breathless to walk, sleep or eat

  • Lips turning blue.

 


What to do in an Asthma Attack - Child under 6 version

What to do in an Asthma Attack - Adult Version