Asthma First Aid Essentials for Care Settings
Asthma is a common condition that you're likely to encounter in a care setting. Around one in nine Australians suffer from it, making it an integral part of any first aid course that focuses on education and care environments. Whether you're looking for a refresh of your current knowledge or you want to read ahead, here are some asthma first aid essentials to consider.
Know how to assess an asthma attack
Asthma attacks can range from mild to severe, and the type a child is experiencing will determine your actions. A mild attack may feature a cough, slight wheeze or minor difficulty in breathing but no difficulty speaking in sentences. In contrast, a moderate attack features a persistent cough, a loud wheeze, obvious difficulty breathing and the ability to only speak in short sentences. Finally, a severe attack involves obvious distress, gasping for breath, the inability to speak a few words without stopping for breath, possibly blue lips and a pale and sweaty appearance.
Although you can tackle a mild attack with the care you learn during an HLTAID004 course, severe attacks should always prompt calling for emergency medical assistance, and moderate attacks may require medical attention too.
Learn about correct inhaler usage
Emergency inhalers are usually blue, and they contain a medication called salbutamol. It's wise to familiarise yourself with the correct use of each inhaler device that's present in your care setting. Although there are only minor differences between each one, those small differences can amount to large discrepancies in how well a child inhales the salbutamol. Always ensure the asthmatic child remains upright as you administer the medication, as this increases the chances of its particles distributing evenly throughout the lungs.
Know what to do if someone doesn't respond to their pump
In the event that an asthmatic child doesn't respond to their pump, you can usually repeat the puffs up to 10 times. Space the puffs around 30 to 60 seconds apart. If, after this, their attack doesn't seem to be getting any better, you should seek emergency medical help. Always remain with the child who is experiencing the attack and try to reassure them, as hyperventilation can make the problem worse.
Overall, the skills you learn in your HLTAID004 course will equip you with all the skills you need for a first aid response to an asthma attack. Staying up-to-date with these skills will allow you to become an effective first aid provider at the place you work in.