If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:5:09

Video transcript

even under the best of circumstances people who have asthma are always at risk for a bad attack so here we talk about short-term treatments so I'm going to write asthma attack and this level of symptoms will usually land this person in the hospital so this is what we would do in a short term to get them out of that hopefully when the symptoms first started they would have tried the things that usually work for them should have tried their rescue inhaler with usually it's a beta-2 agonist beta-2 inhaler didn't work they try a nebulizer nebulizer or they could try something with a steroid usually if they're having a really severe attack those things they usually do for themselves won't be helpful hopefully in route to the hospital they would have been given some oxygen since their lungs are really struggling to get air in they need some help staying oxygenated so oxygen is should be given freely to people who have asthma attacks okay so now we're at the hospital and so far nothing has helped this person we basically can take some of the same drugs that you would use at home and upgrade them to the big guns by making them IV or intravenous I'm sure you've all had this before you go to the hospital they put a needle with a catheter behind it into your arm could be your leg depending on what's most convenient and the drug gets infused directly into the bloodstream so the closer medicine gets star blood during the delivery the more pure it is so inhaled or ingested or a pill or something it takes a while to get there but directly into our blood is going to be fast so we can do some of the same things so beta 2 or we can do IV steroids this is really the big guns we can also do magnesium sulfate which is just a chemical that also opens up the smooth muscles in our lungs force it open and help the patient breathe better it's something else we can give is epinephrine or just go right up be you've probably heard of people who have bad allergy reactions carrying the EpiPen this sort of the same thing so epinephrine in our body is usually produced by the adrenal glands and epinephrine starts the whole fight-or-flight emergency response and it has effects all over the body so it can get our eyes to open up so we can see better during the attack it can make our heart beat faster pump more blood to the muscles and in the lungs it opens up the Airways so this person is going to get heart palpitations and just feel really panicked but that's the side effect because the epinephrine might save their life by opening up their lungs epinephrine can be given as an injection and we usually only give a little bit at a time so I've been a friend here at this level instead of giving them just study oxygen a few liters through their nose we might upgrade to masks we can either be called CPAP or BiPAP the difference between these two is how continuous the pressure is the main thing to remember with these is that they both push oxygen into the lungs just with greater force and you would get with a nasal cannula or just tubes in the nose so this CPAP or BiPAP covers their face and forcefully pushes oxygen in to help them oxygenate better at this point if none of this have worked for this patient then we got to think about intubation now intubation is kind of a big procedure we're going to put a breathing tube down their throat and hook it up to a machine that mechanically breathes for this patient and of course that's very uncomfortable so we have to knock them out with some drugs I'm going to draw a breathing tube here so this can be a big procedure for some people because they have to be under anesthesia and intubation itself is hard on the lungs but as the last resort is it's necessary to save people's lives it can be a hard call of when it's time to intubate if you intubate too late they might have permanent damage from lack of oxygen or too early can hurt the lungs and put them through something unnecessary so at these levels there's a question mark of when to go to the step but when it's necessary in this person's just not responding to treatment it's definitely necessary for bad asthma attack but hopefully our Aspen page knows the things that trigger them and avoid them so I would say this every time avoid smoking either second hand or first hand avoid NSAIDs this is your ibuprofen your aspirin a lot of painkillers this can trigger in a lot of people especially adults avoid things like allergens and basically just avoid the triggers the keys to know yourself and know what triggers you and stay away from those things and for our patient here if they've gotten to this level definitely if they've gotten to intubation that probably needs to stay in the hospital for a while to make sure they don't have another attack and to make sure that they recover from this one