So the other day I saw a post going around with ‘cute fic ideas’, on that list included something along the lines of person A having an asthma attack but not their rescue medication so person B calming them down out of the attack.
THAT IS NOT HOW ASTHMA WORKS. YOU CAN KILL OR SERIOUSLY INJURE SOMEONE WITH ASTHMA IF THEY’RE HAVING A BAD ENOUGH ATTACK AND YOU TRY TO ‘CALM THEM DOWN’ INSTEAD OF GETTING THEM PROPER CARE.
Here is what you actually need to do if someone you know is suffering from an asthma attack and they either don’t have their rescue medication or their rescue medication didn’t help the attack:
- First things first you need to calm down and assess the situation. Either way, you’re going to have to be making a nice little trip to the ER so determine if the attack is moderate or severe. If it’s moderate, you can drive them, if it’s severe or they are unresponsive, call 911 IMMEDIATELY and have an ambulance bring them so they can get proper oxygen and medication en route to the hospital. You’re going to need to tell the operator that they do not have any rescue medication, and have not been given any (of if they have that medication was administered at x time and has had no effect. The operator should give you a run through of what to do from that point onward).
- If it’s a moderate attack, ask them if there’s any place they might have a backup inhaler (purse, bag, backpack, cupboard, under the sink etc), however don’t waste time on this, if they don’t know just get them in the car and GET THEM THE EMERGENCY MEDICAL TREATMENT THEY NEED. THEIR LUNGS ARE NOT FUNCTIONING PROPERLY. THEY NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION IF THEY DO NOT HAVE THEIR RESCUE INHALER OR IF IT IS NOT WORKING.
- Now here is only part about calming them down. Most people with asthma have dealt with it before, so they know to stay calm as possible during an attack. However, it is hard to stay calm if the person trying to help you is freaking out about it and causing a scene, so I state again, you, the person helping, need to stay calm. I don’t care how bad it seems, freaking out accomplishes nothing. If it makes you feel better, play some calming classical music on the drive to the ER. If you have access to hot/ at least warm water give them a cup of it to sip on during the drive (if you don’t, that’s fine too, don’t waste time heating up water in a coffee pot or kettle THEY NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION.)
- If the person having the attack goes into a panic attack, try to calm them down en route to the hospital the same way you’d calm a regular person having a panic attack down. If they’re so freaked out they don’t want to leave the house, it’s time to call the ambulance. Panicking can and will make asthma worse and it is very important they get prompt care for their asthma.
- IF YOU ARE EVER IN DOUBT AND UNSURE ABOUT HOW BAD THE ASTHMA IS ERROR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION AND CALL FOR AN AMBULANCE. IT’S BETTER YOU OVER REACT AND GET AN AMBULANCE INSTEAD OF THE PERSON STOPPING BREATHING HALF WAY TO THE HOSPITAL. ASTHMA IS VERY SERIOUS. TREAT IT AS SUCH.
Please take a second to reblog this; as someone who suffers from asthma that has landed me in the hospital quite a few times, it is very scary that there are people who think the treatment for asthma is to try and calm someone down instead of getting them proper medical attention.
And let me just add, if the person suffering the attack is responsive and capable of communication, do as they say. I’ve had people telling me to lie down to rest as I start to calm from an attack, when I know perfectly well that doing that will only reset the symptoms and make me feel worse.
Ideally, if you know someone who suffers from asthma, do as one of my uni friends did, and discuss it with them. I’ve been without medication for the past few years, because my doctors considered I didn’t really need it anymore - it was true, to a point, but I still had the occasional allergy-related attack. As soon as I told her I had asthma, this friend sat down with me, and said, ok, you’re gonna tell me what to do if you ever have an attack in my presence. Do I call an ambulance? Do I give you something, some medication, what do I do?
My “grown-up” attacks are moderate and don’t usually require oxygen or medical attention - give me a few minutes and a drink (warm is ideal, room temperature is ok, cold I will refuse, thanks), help me sit up straight if I can’t keep the position myself, and I can usually will myself back to a somewhat functional breathing situation. [my regular breathing is very deep, with long inhales and even longer exhales, and slight pauses between them, which isn’t really sustainable during an attack, but the closer I can get to it the better]
The attacks I had as a child, nevertheless, were life-threatening (my medication wasn’t enough to relieve them, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t stand up or even sit up, my chest and stomach were basically sucked in because I was struggling so hard to keep breathing, my lips went blue). Every single time, I had to be rushed to the ER for at least an hour of sitting ramrod straight with an oxygen mask - and I’d only get my voice back after half an hour or so.
You can’t calm somebody out of that kind of attack, so don’t even try. If the person doesn’t respond, just get them help as quickly as possible.