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Let's talk about why common sense is so important during life threatening emergencies

Did you know that asthma rates are rising? There are roughly 3.2 million people with asthma in Canada. This means roughly 23% of Canadians have this condition, and we are number 1 for mortality rates associated with asthma.  


1 in 10 children have been diagnosed with asthma. In 2015 Ryan's law was implemented to allow students to carry life-saving medication in school. Before that, medications needed to be locked up and signed out. Unfortunately, it took Ryan Gibbon's death to enact this bill and allow students to carry their life-saving medications.  


Why is it that we can't be proactive? Why does a death, disaster, or loss promote change? We react instead of mitigating the risks. People have a 2 in 5 chance of ending up with asthma before the after of 40. Asthma is caused by inflammation of the tubes that carry air into the lungs. This is usually a lifelong disease. When someone is having an active asthma attack, the muscles in the airway tighten up and can fill with mucus - therefore causing breathing difficulty. 


It's unfortunate that we have to allow someone to die before promoting change. Would you know the signs and symptoms of asthma? Would you know what to do? In 2017 first aid programs included life-saving medication for first aiders. This means that first aiders can help administer life-saving medications such as rescue inhalers. Know the signs 


Coughing or wheezing 

Short of breath 

Faster breathing and heart rate 

Blue lips  



Place the person in a comfortable position and ask them if they have any medication. Usually, somebody with asthma has a blue puffer, also called a rescue inhaler. This inhaler is a bronchial dilator; it works by opening the airway to allow air into the lungs. Asthma is considered a life-threatening emergency. A first aider is permitted to assist in administering the mediation as long as they follow the five rights of medication.  

The person can usually administer their own puffer, but if they need some help, make sure you read the directions and ensure that it is the right person, time, medication and method to take the prescription.  

Using an aero chamber is the best method as it produces the best results when administering the rescue inhaler. Always make sure that you shake the puffer and prime it once. Place it into the aero chamber and place the mouthpiece at the person's lips. Get them to breathe normally while you're pressing the inhaler.  

If the person does not have an aero chamber, shake the rescue inhaler, prime it once, and then help put it to the person's mouth. Tell them to take a deep breath when you push the button and to hold their breath for 10 seconds if able. Typically, it requires 2 sprays of the inhaler to see the effects. 


Simple information can help save a life. Do your part and know what to do.