nav
contact

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Brenner Children’s pediatric emergency department has moved back to its original location. Learn more

In order to help protect patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, no visitors are allowed at any of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s outpatient or inpatient facilities, except in certain situations.
Learn more

More COVID-19 Updates

What Should I Do if My Friend Is Having an Asthma Attack?

What Should I Do if My Friend Is Having an Asthma Attack?

What should I do if my friend is having an asthma attack?
- Zahara*

An asthma flare-up can be scary, both for the person having it and anyone who sees it happening. A friend who knows how to handle the situation can be a big help.

Here's what to do:

  • Stay calm and be reassuring. Help your friend relax. If someone who is having a flare-up panics, it can make it even harder to breathe.
  • Take your friend away from any possible asthma triggers, like smoke.
  • Have your friend sit upright. Lying down might make breathing more difficult.
  • If your friend can talk, ask what his or her asthma action plan says to do during a flare-up. If your friend is able to tell you, follow the plan.
  • If your friend can't speak or doesn't remember what to do, ask if he or she has an inhaler to use during flare-ups. If so, get the inhaler and help your friend to use it.
  • Call 911 if:
    • the inhaler doesn't help
    • the inhaler helps at first but then your friend gets worse again
    • an inhaler is not available
    • your friend is having trouble talking or is struggling to breathe
    • your friend's lips are turning blue
    • your friend becomes unconscious

Friends can be the first line of defense for someone who is having an asthma flare-up. So it's great that you want to be prepared!

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: May 2014

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.