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asthma = no cough

I've been on a first aid course today (again LOL)

The trainer didn't get onto talking about asthma but i was looking through the book he gave us which does have asthma in and there is NO mention of a cough being an asthma symptom!!!

I mentioned this to him in the break and he said others have said it too

I don't know which 1st aid / medical organisation is behind this cos it's just got our council logo all over it, i would be tempted to email then if i knew!!

13 Replies

I can remember doing a First Aid at Work course years and years ago and still have the book, I don't think much was mentioned about asthma attacks really!!! Its a bit weird really because after cuts and stuff I'd imagine asthma would be a pretty common condition first aiders would come across.

That being said, I've had first aiders come up to me in public and tell me that I'm overdosing on vento hehe. SO some courses must teach the AUK guidelines?


i agree laura, especially in my work - schools, i can't remember the exact figures but it's something like statistically there will be 3 / 4 asthmatics in every class

He was hoping to get onto asthma / anaphylaxis and he got out the demo inhalers / epi-pens but we didn't have time :-(

The funny thing is before he knew i'm asthmatic when we were doing CPR on the dummies he was complimenting me on my great lungs hahahahahaha (the benefit of being a woodind player)


I know the feeling Jinglefairy, I've been on 7 now. At my last one, two years ago, my lungs were playing up and I coughed my way through the entire course, the first aid trainer offered me sweets and water to calm my coughing! She did show us a few inhalers and how to make a spacer out of an old plastic drinks bottle.


I deal with a variety of first aid situations. I work in the outdoors and asthma is one of the most common things that I deal with first aid wise. Although today I had to deal with a diabetic who went hypo.

I'm quite surprised how many people with asthma don't often carry their inhaler, or forget it. I've seen a few relieved faces (and lungs) when I've pulled out my inhaler for them to use.


lou, when you say that you have given your inhaler to others, is this something we (we being asthmatics) are allowed to do? I always wondered because as a general rule I was taught (maybe in high school, I don't remember) that you shouldn't give someone else your medicine (any type - not just for asthma) as you don't know how they'll react but I know if I saw someone struggling I would go to give them my inhaler if they don't have their own. Or are we supposed to check that they have had ventolin or whatever else before?


I'm normally really good at remembering to have my inhaler with me but once recently i didn't - oops

I'd run a 10k race on the sunday then the next day i was playing a clarinet duet with one of my private pupils for her GCSE music performance. I always find clarinet more taxing than flute but the day after a 10k race it was particularly hard. We had to do multiple takes on this duet but by the 3rd go i was struggling. Looked for my inhaler in my bag but it wasn't there, luckily (for me) Lucy my pupil is also asthmatic and offered me her inhaler hahaha

I think strictly speaking UniGirl you are right that we're not supposed to share medications but if i came across a known asthmatic who was struggling and didn't have their inhaler i probably would offer mine too, i'm happy to be corrected but as far as i know salbutamol is the firts drug to be tried as a reliever so if you're on something else you'd know you can't have salbutamol and in that case wouldn't accept the salbutamol inhaler


I'd second that whilst sharing meds is never advisable, if someone is already on salbutamol (and i would only offer it to someone who was already on salb) then taking my inhaler is surely better than taking no inhaler!! wouldnt give it to someone who wasnt a diagnosed asthmatic with their own blue inhaler somewhere. as far as i know all salb is the same strength and stuff :-)


Ah yes this makes sense, I didn't even think that it is the first drug offered. Thank you, best to know in case the time comes.


I think this should be a main component of any sort of first-aid training courses as they is a high % of people with asthma in the world let alone in the UK and also some people don't know there asthmatic trigger indoor or outdoor


I seem to remember that on first aid courses 15 years or so ago the advice given was don't give anyone anything, no lotions, potions, pills etc. These days on the first aid courses I do (which include remote situations), advice is far more practical. If someone has forgotten their inhaler or it's run out then it's quite acceptable to give them yours. The last thing I want to do is not give someone my inhaler when they're struggling to breathe and have run out or forgotten theirs. ""It's not going to do them any harm"" is what I've been told by several first aid trainers who're advanced responders (can administer morphine and other drugs IV and nebs too) in mountain rescue or nurses.

The old advice of don't give anyone anything that's not a triangular sling or crepe bandage is just so wrong in my eyes. When I work (in the outdoors) with children and it's sunny I don't withhold my suncream, I go around and put a few blobs on them all (after asking if anyone's allergic and reading their medical/consent forms), to knowingly let a child get burnt would be neglectful. I frequently give out suncream, ventolin, paracetamol, ibuprofen and stick plasters and tape on people young and old, it's just common sense stuff and gaining/having consent where needed.


I don't know which manual you are using but St John Ambulance (of which I am a member), The British Red Cross and St Andrews Ambulance use, The 9th Edition First Aid Manual (FAM) by DK DOES mention coughing as a symptom. Some independent FA providers may create their own manuals...

Generally you should not be administering any medication to anyone else with the exception of if you have permission from parents but usually for OTC Over the counter meds, NOT POMs (prescription only meds) of which Ventolin is one. (people often get in a tiss with Oxygen which is a prescribable medication). EG on a residential / care environment ...

Asthma is always or should be included in First Aid at Work courses - very basic FA courses there is not always time to cover every possible illness eg diabetes, epilepsy etc.. just the key lifesaving methods such as DRABC, CPR, severe bleeding, ... anything that is imminently life threatening...

People these days seem to have lost sight of what First Aid training is... it is FIRST Aid... the basics you can do until professional help arrives...

SJA does do more advanced FA training up to Emergency Technician standards so we can cover large duties with lesser impact on local health services ( we do have a lot of member who are Paramedics, Doctors, Nurses etc) and also support the Ambulance services in many areas too....

I will get some feedback from my SJA colleagues.....



I'm in my uni's first aid society and we aren't allowed to cover asthma attacks! When I asked about it the guy just said that because attacks vary from one person to the next they can't cover everything so they just leave it out! He also said that they don't really require help as such so it would be a waste of time.... so I guess the fact that they were included in the book at all is a bonus!

I have a petition going to get them included in training!

It's ridiculous how many people think asthma is just an excuse.


well that sounds really stupid!!! (no offence to you personally rachel)

They could at least cover basics for an average / mild attack ie loosen tight clothing, make sure the person has their blue inhaler etc etc


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