If your aging loved one has recently been diagnosed with asthma, you might be feeling very concerned. You know that asthma can be even more serious in adults than it is in children, and you know that asthma in the elderly can lead to respiratory failure. So what do you do if your loved one has an asthma attack?
First, relax. If you and/or your loved one’s senior care aide follow these simple steps, your loved one’s asthma attack will abate, and they should be fine. It is important, though, to call a doctor or 911 if the flare-up gets too severe.
Steps to Overcoming an Asthma Attack
- Stay calm – You won’t be of any help to your loved one if you are freaking out, so take some deep, calming breaths yourself, and stay focused on the task at hand. Your calm and confident attitude can be greatly reassuring to your loved one, which is important, because the more they stress about the asthma attack, the more severe it becomes. So this step is actually two steps in one: Calm yourself, then make sure your loved one stays as calm as possible. Asthma attacks are scary, but it is imperative not to panic, as this only makes things even worse.
- Get your loved one upright – Lying down makes asthma symptoms worse (you might have noticed your loved one coughs more at night), so when your loved one begins to have an asthma attack, help them to sit up. Sitting up against some pillows, or against the cushions of a couch or a chair can help to realign the body so that it is easier for the air to go in and out in a normal rhythm.
- Know the triggers – Many asthma attacks are triggered by things like smoke or allergens. Know what triggers attacks in your loved one, and then use that knowledge to get them away from the stimuli that agitates their lungs. If you don’t know what causes the attacks, attempt to remove anything that seems like it could be an allergen from the room and see if that helps.
- Medication – Most asthmatics have inhalers, and at this point (or before), you or your loved one’s senior care aide should be pulling them out. Oftentimes the only thing that can bring an end to an asthma attack is the medication in the inhaler, so always know where your loved one’s is, and know the correct dose. This should, in most cases, be the final step. However, if the inhaler doesn’t help, move on to the final step in this list.
- Call an ambulance if necessary – If your loved one’s attack doesn’t seem to be subsiding, and/or they feel a tightness in their chest, or their lips are turning blue, call a doctor or an ambulance. In most cases, this won’t be necessary, but have a prepared plan of action, just in case.
Now that you know these steps, your loved one will be much safer, even with their chronic asthma.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Manalapan, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.
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