A severe, prolonged asthma attack can create a life-threatening situation. The bronchi are then narrowed so much that the lungs are no longer able to absorb enough oxygen – the asthmatic threatens to suffocate.

At the beginning of a violent attack, those affected usually still have the strength to fight against the strong resistance when exhaling with the help of their abdominal and respiratory muscles. With increasing duration, the muscles become exhausted and the condition deteriorates rapidly. The spasm of the airways must be eliminated as soon as possible.

Even with optimal therapy, every asthmatic must expect to suffer an acute attack from time to time. Therefore, both the patient and parents and other close people should know what to do in the event of an asthma attack. Every asthmatic should draw up an appropriate emergency plan in cooperation with the doctor. When an acute attack occurs, the first remedy is an immediate inhaled bronchodilator. As a result, on the one hand, a higher dose is administered and, on the other hand, an additional moistening of the bronchial tubes is achieved. In addition, there is a controlled breathing technique, such as pursed lips, to reduce shortness of breath. Because breathing out with pursed lips and puffed out cheeks prevents the airways from collapsing in severe breathlessness. In the case of an acute, life-threatening asthma attack, cortisone must be administered as a suppository or tablet. These medications should be in every asthmatic’s first aid kit. The sooner countermeasures are started, the better the chances of avoiding a really serious attack.

After administering the emergency medication, it is still very important to remain calm and to calm the person concerned. Help them adopt a posture that helps them breathe, such as the coach seat. This allows the auxiliary respiratory muscles to be used. Remind the person affected to use pursed lips, as this prevents the alveoli from collapsing. Tight clothing should be opened or taken off, opening the window improves the supply of fresh air.

If, despite the immediate measures, the symptoms do not improve significantly within a few minutes, the emergency doctor must be called. And even if the shortness of breath subsides, it almost always makes sense to go to the doctor or to the hospital, because a mild attack is often only the harbinger of a much more severe one.

Not only adults but also the sick child should be prepared for an acute attack. On the one hand, the older you get, the better it can help you on your own, and on the other hand, knowing about the disease helps you deal better with crisis situations.


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