A whopping 2.5 million Australians (1 in 9) have Asthma, a lung condition that significantly affects a person’s breathing and quality of life, and a severe asthma attack can be life-threatening.

Exercise, allergies and cigarette smoke are some of the most common asthma triggers, but it’s the common cold that’s behind 80% of bad asthma attacks.

This and other triggers like cold air, flu and chest infections is why late winter is the most dangerous time for those suffering with Asthma and why the majority of asthma related deaths, some 400 every year, occur during this time.

With that in mind, let’s be vigilant to recognise and respond to worsening asthma symptoms before things get out of hand!


  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing (noisy breathing)
  • Chest tightness
  • Dry cough


  • Condition worsens quickly or after medication
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Blue lips
  • Skin sucking in around the ribs and collar bone
  • Severe anxiety


  1. Sit the person down in an upright position. Stay calm and give reassurance.
  2. Give reliever medication according to their asthma action plan or if not available… Give 4 puffs of their blue/grey puffer using a spacer if available. Allow them to breathe 4 breaths from the spacer after each puff.
  3. Wait 4 minutes while monitoring their symptoms before giving another 4 puffs if needed.
  4. Call 000 if symptoms are severe or even if the thought crosses your mind (better to be safe than sorry!)