World Asthma Day is held annually in May to raise awareness of Asthma – a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties and affects an estimated 300 million people globally (NHS.UK/Asthma.org.uk).
It can affect people of all ages, often beginning in childhood but can also develop for the first time in adults.
Good asthma care is important to manage your condition, this includes knowing how to use your inhaler correctly, having an annual asthma review, creating your own asthma action plan and knowing what to do in an asthma attack.
Symptoms of asthma (NHS)
The main symptoms of asthma are:
- a whistling sound when breathing (wheezing)
- breathlessness and a tight chest, which may feel like a band is tightening around your chest particularly when coughing
The symptoms can get temporarily worse, this is known as an asthma attack.
It is important to know what to do in an asthma attack so you’re always prepared – it is also helpful for your friends and family to know so they can help you if necessary.
What to do in an asthma attack (Asthma & Lung UK)
- Sit up straight – try to keep calm
- Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30-60 seconds up to 10 puffs.
- If you feel worse at any point OR you don’t feel better after 10 puffs call 999 for an ambulance.
- If the ambulance has not arrived after 10 minutes and your symptoms are not improving, repeat step 2.
- If your symptoms are no better after repeating step 2, and the ambulance has still not arrived, contact 999 again immediately.
Important: this asthma attack advice does not apply to you if you use a MART inhaler. Get more information and advice about the MART regime.
How to use your inhaler
Want to know how to use your inhaler or need a refresher? Click here to find videos on how to use your specific inhaler.
If you’d like more support and advice regarding asthma attacks, you can visit the below websites:
- Asthma and Lung UK
You can also speak to an Asthma.org respiratory nurse specialist on their helpline by calling 0300 222 5800 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) or WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728.