When a child has an asthma attack and a rescue inhaler isn’t accessible, it can be a scary experience for both parent and child. Because of the significant dangers posed by not treating asthma, every effort should be made to ensure that a child is never in a situation where they don’t have access to albuterol. However, there are a few things that can help a child get through an asthma attack without medication.
It’s common for someone experiencing an asthma attack to panic because of the inability to catch one’s breath. Unfortunately, panicking only serves to make the attack worse by causing the sufferer to inhale and exhale rapidly, which in turn means that less oxygen is getting to the lungs. If a child performs a simple breathing exercise, such as spacing their inhalations and exhalations out by four seconds, their anxiety will decrease and their oxygen intake will increase.
Coffee or Non-Herbal Tea
Drinking a caffeinated beverage can ease the symptoms of an asthma attack. When caffeine enters our system, it metabolizes into theophylline, a chemical that has the effect of relaxing the bronchial muscles and reducing inflammation in the lungs. While a caffeinated soda or energy drink can also be effective, coffee and non-herbal tea are better because the stream hot beverages produce has the effect of loosening mucus.
Moving Away From the Irritant
For many asthmatics, secondhand smoke, dust mites, pet dander, the smell of certain chemicals and pollen can trigger an asthma attack. As such, quickly moving your child out of the area where their asthma was triggered and into an environment with clean air can cause the attack to subside.
A Hot Shower or Bath
Taking a hot shower or bath in the midst of an asthma attack can be helpful because the steam from the hot water will loosen up airway-blocking mucus. If a bathroom isn’t available, having a child sit in a sealed restroom with a hot water faucet running can have the same effect.
Over-the-counter Allergy Medication
Taking an appropriate dose of an over-the-counter allergy medication might help your child cope with an asthma attack. Allegra, Benadryl and Claritin can all neutralize the body’s allergic reaction to histamine, such as nasal congestion and inflamed airways, so they can blunt the symptoms of an asthma attack as well.
The Emergency Room
While all of the above listed treatments may have the effect of reducing the severity of an asthma attack, none of them are adequate replacements for an albuterol inhaler. If you’re in a situation where your child cannot access their rescue medication, you should get them to urgent care or an emergency room as soon as possible so they can receive proper medical treatment.
If your child has to use their rescue inhaler more than two times a month, contact us to set up an appointment today. Dr. Shukla’s efforts have resulted in a 15 percent drop in asthma-related emergency room visits among his patients and he can direct those efforts to treating your child as well.