Management of an Asthma Attack

If the victim has an individualised, written asthma action plan, then that plan should be followed.

If there is no action plan in place, then use the following Asthma First Aid plan.

If a victim has any signs of a severe asthma attack, call an ambulance straight away and follow the Asthma First Aid Plan while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Asthma First Aid plan

  • Sit the person comfortably upright. Be calm and reassuring. Do not leave the person alone.
  • Without delay give four separate puffs of a “reliever”. The medication is best given one puff at a time via a spacer device. Ask the person to take four breaths from the spacer after each puff of medication.
  • If a spacer is not available, simply use the inhaler. Use the victim’s own inhaler if possible. If not, use the first aid kit inhaler if available or borrow one from someone else.
  • Wait four minutes. If there is little or no improvement give another four puffs.
  • If there is still no improvement, call an ambulance immediately.
  • Keep giving four puffs every four minutes until the ambulance arrives.

No harm is likely to result from giving a reliever inhaler to someone without asthma.

If oxygen is available, it should be administered by a person trained in its use.

If victim becomes unresponsive and not breathing normally, commence resuscitation.