Asthma affects about 6% of the US population, and shortness of breath is a very common among Asthma sufferers. When a person reports a wheeze or chest tightness along with shortness of breath, it is not unreasonable to consider an asthma attack as the cause of their breathing problems.
First Aid for Asthma attacks can be quickly applied with the use of a bronchodilator commonly referred to as an “inhaler”. A person exhibiting the signs of an asthma attack is probably being treated for the condition, and would likely have a prescription inhaler nearby. Quickly check the person’s pockets, car, desk, purse, briefcase, or gym bag for an inhaler– and hand it to them right away.
If an inhaler cannot be readily found, then an oxygen mask can be used as an alternate means to help restore normal breathing. Inhaling pure oxygen will block air irritants that are causing the Asthma attack, and allow the person’s airways to relax.
If no inhaler or oxygen mask can be found nearby, then quickly move the Asthma sufferer to a warm area. Choose an area that is also free from airborne irritants such as smoke, perfumes, chemicals, mold and dust. Then promptly call for medical assistance. Continue to monitor the person’s breathing and circulation until medical help arrives.