Media Releases

Do your patients know how to manage an asthma emergency?

1 May 2017

On World Asthma Day (May 2) the National Asthma Council Australia is asking health professionals to check whether their patients and their families know asthma first aid to ensure they are ready for any future asthma emergencies.

Education to assist communities to prepare for and respond to thunderstorm asthma is a key recommendation of the final report into the Victorian thunderstorm asthma event of 21 and 22 November 2016, handed down last week by the state’s Inspector-General for Emergency Management.  Another recommendation is good patient and carer knowledge of how to deal with respiratory issues, using an effective asthma action plan.

Whilst many Victorians were directly affected with asthma symptoms, some severely, there were many more who experienced the frightening circumstances of seeing family and friends being unable to breathe.

Dr. Jonathan Burdon AM, Chair of the National Asthma Council Australia and respiratory physician, said that individuals and communities need to help to be better prepared for responding to asthma incidents.

“With the release of the final report on the tragic Victorian thunderstorm asthma event, it is timely to check the knowledge of your patients and their families about asthma first aid.

“It’s also a good opportunity to remind patients that the best way to treat asthma symptoms is to avoid them happening in the first place by ensuring their asthma is under control and they are following their written asthma action plan.”

Dr Burdon said that the well-known “4x4x4” protocol for administering salbutamol was still the recommended community first aid approach. This now includes advice for helping patients who have both asthma and severe allergies.

“In an emergency, if the patient or carer is unsure whether it is an anaphylaxis reaction or an asthma attack, they should use the patient’s adrenaline (EpiPen) first, then use their asthma reliever.”

Patients can download or print the National Asthma Council Australia’s community first aid poster from

“Health professionals should check the Australian Asthma Handbook for the latest best-practice clinical guidelines for managing acute asthma,” he said.

The Australian Asthma Handbook is available online at:

In Australia, one in 10 adults and children have asthma. Around 4 out of 5 people with asthma also have allergies, such as pollen-related hay fever.

It is important that your patients know what triggers their asthma attacks. Avoiding the triggers, if possible, can help to control their asthma.

For more information, visit the National Asthma Council Australia website

Media enquiries

For further information, or to arrange an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact:

Lelde McCoy
The Reputation Group
Tel: 03 9645 7755  Mob: 0417 362 768
Email: [email protected]        

Adult First Aid Asthma Chart