5 Tips to Tackle an Asthma Attack

Can you guess what the most common chronic childhood disease in Canada is?

If you guessed asthma, then you guessed right.

“Some of the signs your child may have asthma are shortness of breath, chest tightness, persistent coughing and wheezing,” Says Dr. Stratton Steed from Pinnacle Medical Centres’ Okotoks location. “If your child is having any of these symptoms, please make sure to bring it up with your doctor.”

Here are a few tips on how to help someone who is having an asthma attack.

Stay Calm

The first thing to do if you witness someone having an asthma  attack is to stay calm, try and keep the person having the attack calm and ask the person if they have asthma. Even if they are unable to speak the person should be able to give you a head nod to let you know they have asthma. Next, ask them if they have an inhaler and if they can help direct you to where it is so that you can help them use their inhaler. As well, if the situation warrants it, call or ask someone to call 911.

Eliminate Asthma Triggers

People often associate asthma attacks with exercise, but usually there is more to an asthma attack than a person overexerting themselves. Often, allergies or triggers are the reason behind an asthma attack. If you know what triggers a person’s asthma do your best to get rid of the trigger.

Some common triggers are:

  • Pollen
  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Feathers
  • Animal Dander
  • Certain Foods
  • Smoke
  • Dirt
  • Gases
  • Illness
  • Stress
  • Cold Weather or Windy Weather

Use an Inhaler

This tip is pretty obvious but the best way to help a person who is having an asthma attack is to help them take two-to-four puffs of their inhaler and wait for the attack to stop.  And if your child has asthma, remind them to have their inhaler with them at all times.

Find a Washroom

Warm, moist air is great at helping a person open up their airways and one of the best places to find warm, moist air is in the washroom. If the person having the asthma attack is able to walk, try to help them to a washroom and turn on all the hot water taps and/or showers to create steam. The steam will make it easier for the person suffering the asthma attack to breathe.

Coffee or Energy Drinks

A little known fact is that caffeine has almost the same chemical makeup as a lot of the drugs found in inhalers, which are used to treat asthma. If you have coffee or an energy drink handy, give it to the person who is suffering the asthma attack.


If you or your child has an asthma attack, consider seeing your family doctor or visiting a walk in clinic for some professional help from a family physician. They will be able to recommend medication and coping techniques to help manage the asthma.

Pinnacle Medical Centres’ offer short wait times for walk-in patients to see a family doctor in Calgary, a family doctor in Strathmore, a family doctor in High River and a family doctor in Okotoks.

Most of our locations are also accepting new patients, including our:

  • Crowfoot Location
  • Okotoks Location
  • Strathmore location
  • Beddington Location
  • High River Location