accessibility & help

First aid for an
asthma attack

Watch the video, in which Marco is treated while having an asthma attack.

Use the information below the video to remind yourself how to help someone who is having an asthma attack.


Help the person sit in a comfortable position and take their medication.

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When someone has an asthma attack, the muscles in the airways narrow, making it difficult for them to breathe. Using an inhaler relaxes the muscles, allowing the air passages to expand and ease the person’s breathing.


Reassure the person. If the attack becomes severe, or they don't have their medication, call 999 or get someone else to do it.

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A mild attack should ease within a few minutes. If it doesn’t, or the inhaler has no effect, call 999.


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Send us your stories

We love to hear from people who have stepped forward to help in a first aid emergency. If you have a first aid story that you'd be happy to share, please email including your name, telephone number and some brief details about what happened. The British Red Cross will only use your information to contact you about your first aid story.

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Young woman checks for breathing on a baby

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