Helping in an Asthma Emergency

Helping in an Asthma Emergency


Would you know what to do if someone around you had an asthma attack? 

All to often we assume we do, until we are faced with the panic of such an event.  Here are the simple steps that could make all the difference:

  • It goes without saying…STAY  CALM, reassure the PERSON that they are going to be okay. 
  • Sit them upright.
  • Ask them for their reliever medication – normally a blue inhaler.
  • Shake the inhaler to mix the medication with the propellant.
  • Insert into spacer if you have one, if not, use the inhaler without. 
  • Get the person to seal their mouth around the mouth piece.
  • Put one puff of medication into spacer, get the person to take 6 calm breaths.
  • Shake the inhaler again and repeat the above 5 more times.
  • After you have given the person 6 puffs (they will have taken 36 breaths in total) wait 6 minutes.
  • If there is no improvement repeat the above for another 6 times, remember 1 puff, 6 breaths.
  • Ask someone to call an ambulance – DO NOT DRIVE THEM TO MEDICAL HELP.


A big mistake we often hear is of a worried/scared parent/caregiver driving the person to the emergency department or medical centre. Please STOP, you are best to keep repeating the above, keeping them calm and calling 111.


If you are confused or worried about any of this, or have questions in general PLEASE call us, we are here to support you.

Asthma NZ 0800 227 328
Please remember all our services are FREE and here for you when you need them.
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