If you see an adult or a child suffer an asthma attack, they need medical attention. There are different types of asthma attack. Some are the spasmodic kind, some take the form of a continuous coughing and spluttering. Whichever form this takes, if there is substantial breathlessness, panic, flaring nostrils and any blueness around the lips, it is very serious and the person will need urgent help. While you are acquiring and organising help,Here are some general tips of what to do:
- Make sure they are sitting up in a high-backed chair or standing erect. Let them lean over something or put their arms on either a wall or a piece of furniture in front of them to curve the upper back. Sit them down at a table which they can lean forward on. Lying down or reclining back in a chair causes discomfort and will not help breathlessness.
- Give them a brown-paper bag. (If they are really struggling, they may not want this as the feeling of suffocation may increase.)
- Place a hand on their back (lower than their lungs) and rub gently. Touch them gently.
- Don't talk too much...it is better to just 'be' with them. Also, do not stare at them or look anxiously at them. Seeing anxiety reflected on a parent's or concerned friend's face can increase the anxiety of the person having the asthma episode. Do not look too much at them as embarrassment and self-consciousness can cause more anxiety further restricting the breath.
- Give them Bach Flower Rescue Remedy. Add Rescue Remedy to a glass of water and give them water to sip regularly.
- Get them to slow their breathing and try to stop 'gasping' for or 'gulping' air. Building up CO2 levels in the lungs will help considerably. Count their breaths with them and do it slowly so that they resonate with your own healthy rhythm.
- Distract them. Get them to imagine something uplifting and beautiful.
- Loosen all tight clothing including around the waist. Make sure they are not in a stuffy, warm room as fresh cool air is essential to them.
- Use a chest rub with essential oils and ingredients such as Eucalyptus, Pine, Menthol. Or add drops of these oils to the bowl of steaming water for them to inhale.
- Try to relax them. Relaxation and dealing with panic and fear are the keys to slowing breathing, stopping hyperventilation and opening the airways.
- Aconite 30c /200c. This remedy heals and soothes fear, panic and intense anxiety. It is for people whose eyes have a 'staring', frightened look in them and where their pupils may even dilate from fear. They may have a fear of dying or that they are going to die from this attack. Aconite is useful for asthma attacks triggered by: bad news, a shock or a fright, a sudden chill from being exposed to a cold, dry wind. For asthma which begins at midnight or appears suddenly in the middle of the night. Occasionally, it is hard to perceive or realise that an individual is anxious or frightened, as they may not sense it themselves but Aconite is always the first port of call for someone who is afraid and struggling for breath. Another sign indicating that Aconite is a good choice of remedy is when the person is chilly, cold and shivering. Their hands will be cold , however their face may be flushed and if the lack of oxygen is severe their cheeks will be a flushed red and their lips may look bluish. (This type of severity is rare enough to see nowadays as most asthma will be controlled by medication. However, attacks like these may still happen to children).
- Arsenicum Alb 30c/200c. This remedy is another homeopathic remedy for anxiety. The person however will be restless with the anxiety, and won't be able to stop moving or want to sit down. They will be restless and may try to pace up and down despite their breathing difficulty. They are also very chilly and will want to be wrapped up warmly and also be beside a window. They will be thirsty for sips of cold water. The person may have a build up of chronic anxiety about money and finances or bills they can't pay. In the case of a child, there may be a build up of anxiety about troubles in their family or school and their asthma becomes triggered by the emotional background of their lives. Their breathing will be wheezing.
- Ant-tart 30c/200c. This remedy is best given when the breathing is noisy, whistling, stertorous, loud wheezing and they have a rattling, mucus-filled chest. When you can actually hear the air bouncing off the mucus in the bronchial tubes. If you see the nostrils flaring and the person tiring and becoming weaker, make sure to give this remedy. This remedy is good when the attack occurs during a time where the person already has a chest infection, bronchitis or where another infection triggers an asthma episode. This remedy is excellent for newborns, very young babies and for elderly people. It is a good remedy to choose if the asthma is occurring during a bout of chicken-pox .
There are several other remedies which can be used to relieve asthmatic episodes. Your homeopath can educate you as to which ones are appropriate for you or your relative depending on the case-history. You can acquire a 'kit' of remedies designed for use in such emergencies. They are lightweight and small and easy to transport around. You can use remedies in First Aid situations but it is always better to have the underlying condition addressed with medium- or long-term homeopathic treatment. Asthma is an underlying condition which needs proper medical care. Homeopathy is very effective in the treatment of people who suffer this illness but prescribing needs to be done by a professional homeopath.
You can still get homeopathic treatment even if you or another is already taking prescribed medication, as homeopathic remedies do not interfere or interact with medication such as steroid inhalers or corticosteroids, bronchodilators or antibiotics. When homeopathic treatment is successful these medications (only under the advice one one's GP or medical specialist) can be reduced or stopped altogether. There is hope for asthma. Learn more about how to use homeopathy for yourself and/or your child. Seek out a homeopath in your area and ask them to help you. Once you have experienced the relief remedies can provide in an emergency, you will be motivated to explore further. What have you got to lose?