First aid: respiratory distress, intervene illico!
1. The scenario
Your friend suddenly lacks air, his breath becomes short, he rattles more than he breathes or seems to choke: he is undoubtedly in respiratory distress, or acute dyspnea. At the root of this serious disorder are various factors: pneumonia, asthma attack, foreign body stuck in the trachea, pulmonary embolism, respiratory failure (COPD) or heart failure, myocardial infarction.
2. The good reflex
Extremely distressing for the victim and his entourage, respiratory distress can be transformed in a few minutes into a vital emergency. It requires an immediate reaction. In the case of an asthma attack, we must try to communicate with the victim to find out if his bronchodilator is nearby: thanks to this device, the patient inhales a substance that inflates his bronchi and allows a quick return to the normal. In the case of airway obstruction, the person should be left in the position where they are sitting or standing. Then lean her forward, support her chest with one hand and the other, give her five strong slaps in the back, striking the open hand between the two shoulder blades. In other situations and when someone has an asthma attack without treatment, they should be seated or half-seated, loosen their collar and clothes, talk to them to reassure them and encourage them to calm down to breathe a thin stream of air between his lips when possible.
3. When to call for help?
At once ! The ideal is to ask a third party to dial 15 (Samu) or 18 (fire) while continuing to rescue and comfort the victim. For the more she gets angry and panic, the less she manages to breathe.
4. How to avoid recurrence?
Difficult to anticipate a dyspnea. However, some precautions can be taken to avoid leaving small objects or dried fruits near children's hands, eating greedily or speaking, swallowing too much rice or cereal at a time, move without bronchodilator (Ventolin type) when you are asthmatic, to spray products in a room where a patient with COPD ...
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