In a bid to make the AUN Community health-literate, the AUN Health Center finds it necessary to provide some tips on how to administer First Aid treatment to save life in dire need, whether in the dorms, offices, at home or on the street.
It is essential that every one is empowered to act as a “health savior” when crises arise before seeking intensive medical care.
We shall commence these series with three common emergency cases and their First Aid management, and we shall treat other common cases at another time. For a start, we shall consider everyday situations such as asthma, seizures, and cardiac arrest.
FIRST AID TREATMENT FOR ASTHMA
WHAT IS ASTHMA?
Asthma is defined as a condition that causes chronic (i.e., long term) ‘inflammation’ of the airways, which is the path through which air flows in and out of the lungs (Kemper et al., 2004). Inflammation refers to a localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, irritation or injury. Asthma causes difficulty in breathing at its onset.
Various things can serve as triggers to an asthmatic attack. These include but not limited to the following:
- Air pollutant such as smoke, dust, etc.
- Household allergen such as feathers, animal fur, house dust mite, and food preservatives.
- Vigorous exercise
- Occupational products such as animal dung, chemicals, wood dust, grain dust, etc.
- Emotions such as distress, stress or over-excitement.
HOW TO RECOGNISE AN ASTHMATIC ATTACK
To act as a health savior, it is expedient that you have a good knowledge about an abnormal health condition before you can save a life. Below are some of the common signs and symptoms that you can easily recognize when a person is having an asthmatic attack:
- Complaint of chest tightness
- Shortness of breath or breathlessness
- Wheezing, i.e., a whistling noise heard around the chest region; accompanied by breathing.
- Increased breathing rate
- Severe dry cough or a cough accompanied by the production of mucus
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
- Make Inquiries about the Person’s Triggers: A critical way to help a person who suffers from recurrent asthmatic attacks is to recognize what their triggers are. You may do the following to help alleviate the frequent attacks:
- If you are living together, ensure that triggers and allergens such as smoke, fumes, chemical sprays, dust mite, cockroaches, pollen, etc. are avoided. Your health practitioner should review other triggers such as a drug, e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, etc..
- Keep your surroundings as dust free as possible; avoid the use of thick curtains and carpet because as they could harbor dirt.
- Do not keep pets in the house and ban smoking.
- Helping during a Mild Asthmatic Attack: When a person is in an active phase of a mild asthmatic attack, you can do the following to assist the person:
- Remove tight clothing around his/her neck.
- Help locate and use his/her inhaler. An inhaler is a small device, with a blue cap, used to relieve an asthmatic attack. Place the mouthpiece of the inhaler in the person’s mouth, and advise him/her to take deep breaths to inhale.
- Place the person in a sitting position, to facilitate respiration.
- Reassure the person and make him/her calm.
- Helping during a Severe Asthmatic Attack: An asthmatic attack is said to be severe if the person develops a severe breathing difficulty which is not relieved by using an inhaler; becomes exhausted and prescribed medications fail to reduce the asthmatic symptoms. In this case, you can do the following to help:
- Call for emergency medical help immediately
- Keep the person in a sitting position
- Ensure that proper ventilation of the area is maintained, but avoid exposure to a cold air source, e.g., put off your air conditioner.
- Clear the area of any obvious trigger(s)
- Keep reassuring the person, and don’t leave him alone until emergency help arrives.
Health tips are contributed by the AUN Health Center