Asthma

Video 38 of 48
5 min 46 sec
English
English

Understanding Asthma: A Comprehensive Overview

Asthma is a common but potentially life-threatening condition, often underestimated in terms of its severity. It's characterized by intermittent, reversible airway obstruction, impacting the airways that facilitate air movement in and out of the lungs.

Asthma Triggers and Reactions

Exposure to irritants or 'asthma triggers' leads to airway constriction, inflammation, swelling, and mucus buildup, making breathing difficult. This results in symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Statistics and Prevalence

  • Approximately 5.4 million people in the UK are under asthma treatment.
  • About 1.1 million children in the UK are also receiving asthma treatment.
  • In the UK, one in every five households has a person with asthma.

Symptoms of Asthma Attacks

Asthma attacks vary in severity from moderate to life-threatening.

  • Moderate Asthma: Characterized by breathing difficulties, coughing, wheezing, distress, anxiety, and exhaustion.
  • Severe Asthma: Requires professional medical intervention, including nebulisers and steroids.
  • Life-Threatening Asthma: Symptoms include altered consciousness, cyanosis, hypotension, exhaustion, reduced respiratory effort, and more. Immediate EMS contact is crucial.

Medications and Inhalers

Two types of inhalers are commonly used:

  • Brown Inhaler: Preventative medication.
  • Blue Inhaler: Used during asthma attacks.

First Aid for Asthma Attacks

Supporting an individual during an asthma attack involves:

  1. Immediately locating and providing the blue reliever inhaler.
  2. Ensuring the individual is seated comfortably with loosened clothing.
  3. Administering one puff of the reliever inhaler every minute for five minutes or until improvement.
  4. If symptoms persist or worsen, urgently calling 999 or seeking medical help.
  5. Continuing inhaler use until help arrives.

Note: Always record asthma incidents in an accident book or work records, especially when caring for someone else's child.

Conclusion

While inhalers are often effective, lack of improvement or worsening symptoms necessitate immediate emergency services activation. Understanding asthma and its management is vital for timely and appropriate care.

Learning Outcomes:
  • IPOSi Unit four LO7.1, 7.2, 7.3 & 7.4