Asthma is a condition that affects the airways – the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.


When a person with asthma comes into contact with something that irritates their airway (an asthma trigger), the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Sometimes sticky mucus or phlegm builds up, which can further narrow the airways making it difficult to breath and leading to symptoms of asthma.


Such trigger factors are dust, pollen, animals and weather.


Signs & Symptoms:

  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Wheezy breath sounds coming from within the lungs.
  • Skin is pale and clammy.
  • Blue lips (cyanosis).
  • Patient uses muscles in the neck and upper chest to breath.
  • Patient may have difficulty in speaking.
  • Patient becomes extremely exhausted in a severe asthma attack.
  • Patient could stop breathing.



  • Stay calm and reduce any causes of stress or anxiety.
  • Help patient to adopt a sit upright position, supported by a chair or table.
  • Assist the patient to use their own inhaler.
  • Some patients may need to use their 'Spacer Device'.
  • If medication is ineffective dial 999.
  • Only lay the patient down if they become unconscious.



We hope you find this article useful. This is one in an alphabetical series of articles addressing various symptoms and their first aid treatments. If you would like more information on related resuscitation and first aid training, please get in touch.


You might also be interested in our blog. One of our more popular articles is about quality or quantity when it comes to first aid training.


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