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First Aid for Asthma/panic attacks


Just gpt another few questions here.

Has anyone done a first-aid course and if so what are people taught about dealing with asthma and panic attacks? Normally at my work I speak to the first-aiders to explain how i like my attacks to be dealt with, what i find helps and what works for me and what the signs i need hospital are (although i always tell them if they are in any doubt about what i'm saying to call for help etc.) When i was off my work sick a few people were taught first-aid (it was needed) so two of them came down to deal with me the other day and the first thing they asked me to do was sit on the floor - i've never been asked to do that before but to be honest it did make me feel a bit more comfortable and worked - any idea how that waS? After that they just asked what i wanted to do etc but i think its because they know this happens a lot etc - but thinking to myself i am curious to know what people are taught about it etc.

Also thinking, its going to be difficult when i start my new job as i shall need to explain my asthma/panic situation to first-aiders etc there - eek!

LJ xx

29 Replies

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The first aid treatment for panic attacks and asthma are different but if they occur at the same time, the asthma needs to be treated. Don't use a paper bag which is fine for a hyperventilating panic attack but can be dangerous for an asthmatic. Once an asthmatic has gained some control with their asthma the panic should subside.

copy this link for St John Ambulance advice


(remove gaps if needed!!)



Thanks for your reply Kate.

I was just wondering really if people are told how to tell the difference between each etc.

I suffer both and know how i deal with them and mostof the time i know the difference but was just curious. The sitting on the floor thing confused me as well. I just normally feel better that someone is there incase something goes wrong etc.

Lauren xx


Whne we did a one day course at school we were basically fed a load of crap! Once I had corrected the bloke on use of relievers and frequency, he stayed very quiet about it - I was disghusted for a trainer!

In the school where I teach we have loads of kids with asthma although whenever they have trouble, they are usually with me as I teach PE but I think the staff are vague about how to deal with even the slightest wheeze as they seem to send for me all the time (I am not in charge of first aid even though hold certificate but they know I am sqeemish over most things eg blood and sick - just have to have the certificate as I teach PE - I usually send for someone else in most instances) but when it come to asthma, they seem to call on me just because they know I have it and I dont panic. They even interrupt my lessons to come and get me!



when i recently had what i thought was an asthmatic attack early hours, i called NHS Direct who called my gp. My GP rang and after i said i thought i was having an asthmatic attack but felt different he said had i any tingling - i had down my right arm and round my lips - and he said thats a panic attack - breath in a paper bag and make yourself a cup of tea (!) distract yourself and calm down - he said it wasnt worth him coming out as he couldnt do anything!! i did calm myself down eventually and so i think now if i get tingly that its a panic attack and not asthma attack. not sure about sitting on floor - although i did sit upright and ""rock"" a little to calm myself. whatever works!!!!

good luck



When I am having a asthma attack, the first thing I do is sit on the floor with my knees bent leaning against the wall so I sit up fairly straight. It makes me feel more in control and helps to open my chest.


Sitting on the floor - it is safer to have you casualty on the floor incase they pass out so they are easier to control and don't add a head injury to their current complaint!

The teaching of first aid by any accredited agency be it St John Ambulance, Red Cross or other agency should be standardised across the board! This is especially important if it is HSE recognised course such as First Aid at Work.

Tutors can be variable though!!

The best (Bit of severe biasness here ) is a course run by St John Ambulance.



I'd definately recommend a sja course! Always good to know 1st aid

(Again everso slightly biased :-P )


I think i'm going to consider doing a first aid course - are the expensive to do? Silly question probably.

That makes sense about sitting on the floor Kate - Just never thought about/been reccomended to sit on the floor till last week well unless its been a bit of an emergency and i've ended up sitting where I am but not always comfy that way!


OK, I think that everyone should do a red cross course because Red Cross are sooooo much better than sja.


(is also ever so slightly biased)


Thinks that although red cross probably do a good job, SJA is far elite and non comparable.


Probably? Probably?!

Red Cross would sooooo beat sja any day of the week at whatever we do!


Quit it u two! Or i'll tell everyone about the eggs Vicky. Hmmm what can I threaten Emzie with?


Are we going to have a ""first-aid""-off, or something?!?!


(Moderator's Beady Eye on discussion ;))


Red cross!

and cookie, you could threaten emz with soluble pred............

Red cross are always at matches and when someone comes up after putting a tiny drop of coffee in thier eye, we would simply tell them to SHOO!




Sorry, didn't mean to start an animated discussion on the merrits of various voluntary organisations.

SJA, Red Cross and St Andrews Ambulance (The Scottish lot!) all teach and use the same Dorling Kindersly book.

In Essex SJA seems to be very dominant where as elswhere the RC dominate!

All depends on resourses in different areas.

BTW I do support the international Red Cross for disasters etc.

SJA & RC both do good jobs with First aid in the UK but on an international scale they have different agenders - RC - Disasters etc in developing & not so developing contries and the SJA support the Eye Hospital in Jerusalem which provides much needed medical care to the Palestinians.

Can we now quit bashing each other, with or without eggs! LOL




Hey don't blame me for the eggs! Was all Vicky's fault!


Cathy, back me up here! I had nothing to do with the egg!


Shall I get the convo log cookie where you suggest the egg?

Red Cross rules!


OK guys, enough already....no more eggs or suggestions that one first aid organisation is better than another!!


You have to admit the egg convo was hilarious!!!

And no preference over first aid - the first aid course I took was run by our school nurse. So there :P


I can't comment, I'm not First Aid trained....


Yes well we all know deep down who's best! (Come on Kate, Spaniel. Becca,and anyone else) we need standing up for!!!


It seems I am out-numbered. Oh well. I can still have my beliefs.........



hi i have done first aid but not for a few years resussie annie awfull had to get somebody to blow into her and press annie down as my hands nor my lungs were able to do it.

ah poor elephant2001 and me i will stick up 4 u from groovy chick


STOP IT NOW!!! Please!

Nuff said me thinks LOL!

anyway, am still allergic to eggs!


Now very much perched on a very small fence!


OK, but what's best for the kiss of life. I need loads more practice!


kiss of life you say

hi everyone u want tips for kiss of life err you have to have a good set of lips to go over mouthlol and a good set of breathing power in your lungslol preferbly non asthmatic though were all out of look their but cant help for trying it. i wouldnt as it would give me an asthma attack for doing that giving someone the kiss of life so count me out i would be able to tell you what to do me thinks.from groovy chick


Regards CPR - mouth to mouth, the protocol has very much changed recently.

I would advise you to check out ONE of the major first aid sites or The UK Resucitation web site. You can do just the chest compressions now without the breaths! Though if you are on your own, adrenaline will kick in and you are the only chance that the casualty has!

Kate - still perched on her fence


The CPR dummies... dont remind me...

We had one decent one, one not-so-good one, and one the school have had for so long no-one remembers when they got it. And I couldn't do the rescue breaths for any of them.

Tis a very good job Vicky is not allergic to eggs...


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