The Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine at Singapore General Hospital shares some tips on how to manage an asthma attack without an inhaler.
Caught without an inhaler during an asthma attack?
“Never, ever let up on your asthma medications even if you feel your condition has improved,” says Associate Professor Loo Chian Min, Head and Senior Consultant,
Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine,
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
SingHealth group. Asthma needs constant care and proper management at all times. Your very life depends on it. However, should you be caught without your inhaler due to unforeseen circumstances, you could try these coping techniques.
Asthma attack: 6 things to do if you do not have an inhaler with you.
Sit upright. Stop whatever you are doing and sit upright. Bending over or lying down can constrict your breathing even more.
Take long, deep breaths. This helps to slow down your breathing and prevent hyperventilation. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth.
Stay calm. Staying calm may prevent further tightening of your chest muscles and make your breathing easier.
Get away from the trigger. The asthma attack could be triggered by dust, cigarette smoke or the smell of chemicals (e.g., ammonia, chlorine gas, sulphur dioxide). Get away from the trigger as soon as possible and go to an air-conditioned environment or any place with clean air.
Take a hot caffeinated beverage. Hot caffeinated drinks like coffee can help to open up the airways slightly, providing some relief for an hour or two.
Seek emergency medical help. If the wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulty do not subside after a period of rest, seek immediate medical attention.
See the next page for tips on how to treat and control your asthma.