If you are experiencing any of these signs, start asthma first aid. Do not wait until asthma is severe.

In children:

  • Signs of worsening asthma can be difficult to recognise
  • Asthma can worsen quickly over short period of time
  • They may complain of sore tummy or chest and be more restless
  • DO NOT DELAY in starting asthma first aid

How to respond

If you are experiencing a severe or life-threatening asthma attack, call an ambulance – Dial Triple Zero (000) and then start asthma first aid.

If you are experiencing a mild to moderate asthma attack, start asthma first aid.


Sit the person upright 
– Be calm and reassuring
– Do not leave them alone


Give 4 separate puffs of blue/grey reliever puffer 
– Shake puffer
– Put 1 puff into spacer
– Take 4 breaths from spacer
Repeat until 4 puffs have been taken
Remember: Shake, 1 puff, 4 breaths
OR Give 2 separate does of a Bricanyl inhaler (age 6 & over) or a Symbicort inhaler (over 12).


Wait 4 minutes
– If there is no improvement, give 4 more separate puffs of blue/grey reliever as above
(OR give 1 more dose of Bricanyl or Symbicort inhaler)


If there is still no improvement call emergency assistance. Dial Triple Zero (000)
– Say ‘ambulance’ and that someone is having an asthma attack
– Keep giving 4 separate puffs every 4 minutes until emergency assistance arrives
(OR 1 dose of Bricanyl or Symbicort every 4 minutes – up to 3 more doses of Symbicort)

Call emergency assistance immediately. Dial Triple Zero (000)
– If the person is not breathing
– If the person’s asthma suddenly becomes worse, or is not improving
– If the person is having an asthma attack and a reliever is not available
– If you are not sure if it’s asthma
– If the person is known to have Anaphylaxis – follow their Anaphylaxis Action Plan, then give Asthma First Aid.