Asthma is a medical condition in which the airways in the body i.e Mouth, Nostrils and lungs become swollen and narrow, thereby triggering coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
It is a very common ailment in Nigeria, with about 1.5million cases yearly. It is a chronic illness that can last for about 6years or lifelong.
Recognition: Asthma is easily recognizable through the following signs
* Difficulty in breathing
* Difficulty in speaking
* Grey - blue skin
* Dry, tickly cough
What To Do : When dealing with someone who is having an asthma attack, do the following:
1. MAKE THE PATIENT COMFORTABLE: This is done by calmly and gently asking the patient to stay calm. Reassure the sufferer that everything will be fine.
Place the patient in a sitting position, make sure the patient is comfortable in that position. Sitting slightly forward, with the back bent forward a little, is usually the best.
Tell the patient to try taking slow and deep breaths, periodically.
2. USE AN INHALER: You should help the patient to locate his/her reliver inhaler (It is mostly blue in colour)
Let the patient use the inhaler. It should be effective within minutes.
3. ENCOURAGE THE PATIENT TO BREATHE SLOWLY: if the attack stops in 5 -10 minutes, encourage the patient to take another dose of his/her inhaler, and to breathe slowly and deeply
If it is a first attack, inform a doctor.
Warning: The following should be avoided while attending to a patient
* Do not lay the casualty/patient down
* Do not use a preventer inhaler
* If the patient falls unconscious, be prepared to resuscitate if necessary ( I'll write on this in my next article)
* If the inhaler has no effect after 5-10 minutes, call a doctor or an ambulance
* Ask the patient to use his/her inhaler every 5 - 10 minutes
Expect further first aid articles from me.
Thanks for reading
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