You might be worried about performing CPR on Someone With Asthma, but we’ll discuss what you need to know here. Asthma is an incurable respiratory illness in which the bronchial tube lining agitates and swells, making breathing difficult. It is a prevalent disease, particularly among kids. In 2020, asthma affected more than 25 million people in the US and approximately 4.2 million children under 18.
The most important question is, what can you do if someone near you experiences an asthma attack? How can you help them? Can performing CPR be enough?
Keep reading to find out more helpful information about asthma and what to do when someone experiences an asthma attack.
How Serious is Performing CPR on Someone With Asthma?
Asthma can be serious so understanding if you can perform CPR on Someone With Asthma is important. Asthma is a minor annoyance for some patients, while for others, it can be a significant issue that disrupts their lives and may result in life-threatening attacks. Fortunately, the fatality rate is low, and most of these deaths are preventable with proper care and treatment.
Although asthma cannot be cured, the symptoms can be managed. However, remember that the symptoms can change over time, so patients must work with their doctor to monitor them and modify the treatment if needed. In 2019, about 262 million people were affected by asthma, which claimed 455 000 lives, according to the WHO.
In the same year, the CDC found that 40.4% of adults with asthma reported one or more attacks in the previous year. In addition, asthma claimed the lives of 4,145 people in 2020, and asthma-related deaths increased for the first time in 20 years in 2020. As of 2020, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Mississippi were the leading US states in terms of asthma deaths per million population.
Definition of an Asthma Attack
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes airway inflammation and swelling. During an attack, the muscles in the lungs’ air passages go into bronchospasm. As a result, the airways carrying the air from the mouth and nose to the lungs become narrower, making breathing difficult.
A wide range of factors can cause or exacerbate asthma attacks. Pollutants and allergens in the air are two of the most common causes. Smoke, dust mites, mold, allergies, drugs, a cold, or chemical irritants can all be identified as triggers for an asthma attack. In addition, cold air and even emotional stress can provoke an attack.
An attack can range from mild to severe, and some may necessitate immediate transport to the nearest hospital. Besides causing difficulty in breathing and speaking, an asthma attack can also cause coughing and wheezing. In addition, since there is insufficient oxygen in their bodies, their earlobes, lips, and nail beds may sometimes turn grayish-blue.
How to Treat Asthma
Asthmatic patients are usually prescribed an inhaler by their doctor. Doctors might also include a spacer, which increases the effectiveness of the inhaler.
An asthma inhaler is the most popular and efficient method of delivering asthma medication to the lungs. They come in various types; some only administer one drug, while others include two.
For example, doctors may prescribe metered-dose inhalers that employ a tiny aerosol canister to deliver the medication through the mouthpiece. In addition, doctors may give patients dry powder inhalers that release medicine when they take a deep breath.
However, if patients have difficulty using small inhalers, they can use an asthma nebulizer. Nebulizers convert medications from a liquid to a mist, making it more straightforward for the medication to enter the lungs. It includes a mask or mouthpiece, making it an excellent choice for the elderly, kids, or people who have difficulty utilizing an inhaler with a spacer. However, we must mention that it takes slightly longer to use it.
In both cases, asthma patients are usually given bronchodilators – medications that help people breathe easier. They accomplish this by relaxing the lungs’ muscles and widening the airways. Anticholinergics, beta-2 agonists, and theophylline are the most commonly used bronchodilators. Anticholinergics and beta-2 agonists can be short-acting and long-acting, while theophylline is available as a long-acting tablet.
Can You Do CPR on Someone With Asthma?
Can a CPR certified person do CPR only if the patient stops breathing and is unresponsive. Chest compressions can help in respiratory arrest due to asthma attacks. But before starting the CPR technique, you should always seek emergency medical help.
However, because it takes seven to fourteen minutes for an ambulance to arrive, you should start helping the patient. Tell them to sit upright since that can assist in keeping their airways open. Then help them use their rescue inhaler by removing the mouthpiece and shaking it. Allow the patient to exhale before inserting the inhaler into their mouth.
Don’t let them lie down, as this can aggravate their symptoms. Instead, assist them in remaining calm and steadying their breathing. Furthermore, some breathing exercises may help reduce the symptoms.
If the patient becomes unresponsive at any point, their symptoms worsen, or they stop breathing, and their lips turn blue, move them to the ground and start CPR.
How to Perform CPR on Someone With Asthma
You should only CPR on Someone With Asthma who has stopped breathing and is unresponsive. So, if someone is unconscious, your emergency response should be to start CPR. Combine standard CPR as well as rescue breathing.
Hands-only CPR is usually sufficient as not all cases require rescue breathing or if mouth-to-mouth is not possible. However, in asthma attack cases, because the obstruction in the respiratory system has caused an oxygen shortage, rescue breaths are essential. If you have CPR training, you’ll be able to give breaths and compressions.
Follow the 30:2 rule and give 30 compressions followed by two breaths. Try to do five sets of compressions and breaths in approximately 2 minutes. Make sure to do about 100-120 compressions per minute. Continue with the cycle of compressions and breaths until the patient starts breathing, moving, talking, or coughing. Then place them in the recovery position.
CPR is very exhausting, but try to switch between rescue breaths and compressions with minimal interruption so you can do efficient compressions. This is why it’s often advised to perform CPR in a group of two, where one can focus on the compressions and the other on the rescue breaths.
Once the ambulance arrives, the paramedics can take over. They can even use an AED or automated external defibrillator. They use it to assist those who have suffered a sudden respiratory or cardiac arrest.
AEDs allow more people to respond to a medical emergency that requires defibrillation. Even lay rescuers can use AEDs since they are portable. They can be incorporated into emergency response programs that also include the administration of CPR.
Understanding If You Can Perform CPR on Someone With Asthma
Asthma attacks are stressful for the patient and the person assisting them. If they are still conscious, you should start administering first aid. This entails a few things, such as helping them use their inhaler, sitting them upright, remaining calm, and helping them steady their breathing.
However, you should remember that attacks can be severe and necessitate immediate medical attention. Call 911 if they have symptoms of a severe attack, such as serious shortness of breath, wheezing, and difficulty speaking.
If you are wondering, “Can you do CPR on someone with asthma?” the answer is yes, but only if the person stops breathing and is unresponsive. During such situations, your actions could mean the difference between life and death.
It’s strongly recommended that everyone take a CPR course, as knowing how to manage these situations can save someone’s life. But that doesn’t mean that if you don’t have a formal education, you can’t lend a helping hand in these situations.