First Aid for Asthma Ages 12 +

First aid using blue/grey puffer

First aid using combination inhalers with formoterol 

First aid using other types of inhalers

National Asthma Council Australia first aid for asthma charts are designed to be used by people with training in first aid. To follow the instructions, you will need to know how to use an asthma inhaler and how to use an adrenaline auto-injector.

Quick action may help prevent an asthma attack from becoming an asthma emergency.


  • You have increasing wheezing, cough, chest tightness or shortness of breath  
  • You are waking often at night with asthma symptoms  
  • You need to use your reliever again within 3 hours


  • Your symptoms get worse very quickly  
  • You have severe shortness of breath, can’t speak comfortably or lips look blue  
  • You get little or no relief from your reliever inhaler

Signs that someone needs first aid for an ASTHMA ATTACK

Any of these:

  • Suddenly hard to breathe
  • Can’t talk normally
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Feeling of chest tightness

What to do

Call an ambulance immediately:
Dial 000 Say this is an ASTHMA EMERGENCY

Not sure if it's Asthma?

If a person stays conscious and their main problem seems to be breathing, follow the asthma first aid steps. Asthma reliever medicine is unlikely to harm them, even if they do not have asthma.

Severe Allergic Reactions - what to do

Follow the person’s Action Plan for Anaphylaxis, if available. If the person has known severe allergies and seems to be having a severe allergic reaction, use their adrenaline autoinjector (e.g. EpiPen, Anapen) before giving asthma reliever medicine.  

If you are ever unsure about what you should do

For more information please visit Asthma first aid.

Health professionals can order free hardcopies from the National Asthma Council Australia.

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