Asthma Attack

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  • Is a chronic inflammatory lung diseases characterized by repeated breathing problem.
  • The problems are caused by oversensitivity of the air passage
  • The condition is most common in children and young adult and tends to improve or resolve with age, Asthma is considered the number 1 emergency in children
  • Air passages narrow and mucus builds up, resulting in poor oxygen exchange
  • During an attack, air passages get narrower and breathing becomes difficult

Precipitating factors

  1. Respiratory tract infections
  2. Strong odors, perfumes, and paints
  3. Occupational exposures: dust, smoke, and fumes.
  4. Certain drugs: aspirin, b-blockers, NSAIDS
  5. 5- Exercise
  6. 6- Air pollution
  7. 7- Emotional stress

Recognizing asthma

Symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe and can be life threatening.

The signs of an asthma attack include the following

  1. 1- Cough.
  2. 2- Cyanosis.
  3. 3- Inability to speak in complete sentence without pausing for breath.
  4. 4- Difficulty breathing, including wheezing.

Care for people with asthma

  1. Place the victim in a comfortable, upright position and leaning slightly forward
  2. Monitor breathing
  3. Ask the patient about asthma medication
  4. If the victim doesn’t respond well to his or her inhaled medication as in severe asthma(status asthmaticus), seek medical care

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases)

  • COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • COPD is a term used for a number of condition, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and lung diseases.
  • People with COPD find it hard to breathe because their air flow is obstructed.
  • COPD affects primarily older adults.
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Caused by chronic infection
  • Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and increased sputum
  • Emphysema
  • Alveoli are partially destroyed
  • Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath

Recognizing COPD

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Victim has artificially supplied oxygen
    • Care for COPD

      • Assist the victim with any prescribed medications he may have.
      • Place the victim in the position of comfort.
      • Encourage the victim to cough up secretions.
      • Encourage the victim to drink fluids.
      • If the situation is acute, seek medical care.
      • Administer oxygen.


      • Rapid, deep breathing often seen with emotional stress (Anxiety Attack)
      • Hyperventilation can also be caused by:

      1- Aspirin toxicity

      2- Diabetic keto acidosis (DKA)

      Recognizing Hyperventilation

      • Dizziness, lightheadedness
      • Numbness
      • Tingling of hands and feet
      • Shortness of breath
      • Breathing faster than 40 breaths/min

      Care for Hyperventilation

      • Calm and reassure the victim.
      • Have the victim breathe slowly.
      • Inhale through the nose.
      • Hold for several seconds.
      • Exhale slowly.
      • Do not have the victim breathe into a paper bag.
      • This rarely restores blood gas but often causes dangerous stress to the heart and respiratory system.


      • Fainting is a sudden brief loss of responsiveness associated with decreased blood flow to the brain.
      • It is also called syncope or psychogenic shock.
      • It can result from physical or emotional causes.
      • For example, it can be precipitated by unpleasant emotional stimuli such as the sight of blood or strong fear.
      • Sitting or standing for a long time without moving can cause blood to pool, which can lead to fainting as well.

      Recognizing Fainting

      • Dizziness
      • Weakness
      • Seeing spots
      • Visual blurring
      • Nausea
      • Pale skin
      • Sweating

      Care for Fainting

      • If the victim is about to faint:
      • Prevent the person from falling.
      • Help the person lie down with his legs raised 6 to 12 inches.
      • Loosen tight clothing at the neck and waist
      • Stay with the victim.
      • If fainting occurred:
      • Monitor breathing.
      • Loosen tight clothing and belts.
      • Raise victim’s legs 6 to 12 inches.
      • Have the victim sit and drink cool, sweetened liquids.
      • Fresh air and a cold, wet cloth may help
      • Seek medical care if the victim:
      • Has repeated fainting episodes
      • Does not quickly regain consciousness
      • Loses consciousness while sitting or lying down
      • Faints for no apparent reason


      Abnormal stimulation of the brain cells causing uncontrollable muscle movement

      Causes of seizures

      • Seizures can result from various medical conditions:
      • Epilepsy
      • Heatstroke
      • Poisoning
      • Electric shock
      • Hypoglycemia
      • High fever in children
      • Brain injury, tumor, or stroke

      Clinical picture

      • The typical sequence for a tonic-clonic seizure is for the patient to experience an aura first.
      • This is a strange sensation that lasts a few seconds (such as tingling, smelling an odor that isn't actually there, or emotional changes) occurs in some people prior to each seizure.
      • It can consist of auditory or visual hallucinations, a peculiar taste in the mouth, or a painful sensation in the abdomen.
      • This is followed by loss of consciousness and muscle contractions.
      • It usually lasts for 2 to 5 minutes.

      Management of seizures

      First Aid

      1. When a seizure occurs, the main goal is to protect the person from injury. Try to prevent a fall. Lay the person on the ground in a safe area. Clear the area of furniture or other sharp objects.
      2. Cushion the person's head.
      3. Loosen tight clothing, especially around the person's neck.
      4. Turn the person on his or her side. If vomiting occurs, this helps make sure that the vomit is not inhaled into the lungs.
      5. Look for a medical I.D. bracelet with seizure instructions.
      6. Stay with the person until he or she recovers, or until you have professional medical help. Meanwhile, monitor the person's vital signs (pulse, rate of breathing).

      Do Not

      • DO NOT restrain the person.
      • DO NOT place anything between the person's teeth during a seizure (including your fingers).
      • DO NOT move the person unless he or she is in danger or near something hazardous.
      • DO NOT try to make the person stop convulsing. He or she has no control over the seizure and is not aware of what is happening at the time.
      • DO NOT give the person anything by mouth until the convulsions have stopped and the person is fully awake and alert.

      Call 911 if:

      • This is the first time the person has had a seizure.
      • A seizure lasts more than 5 minutes.
      • Another seizure starts soon after a seizure ends.
      • The person had a seizure in water.
      • The person is pregnant, injured, or has diabetes.
      • The attack usually end within 1-2 minutes, so call 911 only if
      1. A seizures occurs in someone who not known to have epilepsy.
      2. A seizure last more than 5 minute.
      3. A victim experience a second seizure
      4. The victim is pregnant or has another medical condition
      5. There are any signs of injury.
      Did you like this example?

      Cite this page

      Asthma Attack. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved December 2, 2023 , from

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