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First Aid for an Asthma Attack in a Child

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways in the lungs. These bronchial tubes allow air to flow in and out of the lungs, enabling us to breathe. For children, asthma can pose a serious health risk. A sudden asthma attack can be frightening and requires immediate attention. This comprehensive guide will provide you with crucial information on administering first aid during a child’s asthma attack.

child asthma attack

Recognising an asthma attack

The ability to recognise the signs of an asthma attack could potentially save a child’s life. Symptoms can vary, but they often include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, a wheezing or whistling sound when exhaling, a persistent cough, rapid breathing or chest tightness, and anxiety or panic due to difficulty breathing.

Immediate steps to take during an asthma attack

If a child is experiencing an asthma attack, here are the steps you should follow:


  • Stay calm: It’s essential to remain calm, as your composure can help soothe the child and prevent the asthma attack from escalating. Encourage the child to stay calm as well.


  • Sit the child upright: An upright position can help make breathing easier. Avoid laying them down during an asthma attack.


  • Administer asthma medication: If the child has prescribed asthma medication or an inhaler, administer it as directed by their healthcare provider. This often involves using a spacer device for inhalers.

Observe the symptoms: Keep a close eye on the child’s symptoms. If they do not improve within a few minutes after taking their medicine, or if they start to get worse, seek immediate medical help.

When to seek medical help

Emergency medical help should be sought immediately if the child’s symptoms do not improve or worsen after the initial treatment, if the child has difficulty speaking due to shortness of breath, or if the child’s lips or face turn blue, indicating a lack of oxygen.

Preventing asthma attacks

While knowing how to handle an asthma attack is crucial, it’s equally important to take preventative measures:

  • Ensure that the child takes any long-term control medications as prescribed.
  • Help the child avoid known asthma triggers, such as allergens or strenuous exercise.
  • Create an asthma action plan with your healthcare provider.
  • Regularly review inhaler techniques with the child to ensure they’re using it correctly.

The importance of first aid training

Being equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond during a child’s asthma attack can make a significant difference. This training will equip you with the necessary skills to manage such situations confidently. If you’re interested in learning more about first aid for asthma attacks or other emergencies, contact us or learn more about the range of first aid courses we offer.