This site is intended for healthcare professionals only


Emergency care in asthma

Posted on: 26 Sep 2019

Module summary

This module will highlight the importance of assessing a patient who is having an asthma attack, how to manage their condition and how to reduce risk of recurrent attacks through follow-up, review and education.

Learning objectives

After completing the module, you should be able to confidently:

  • Recognise the signs and symptoms of an asthma emergency
  • Classify an acute asthma exacerbation as moderate, severe or life-threatening
  • Determine whether an attack can be managed in primary care, and when emergency transport to hospital is indicated
  • Provide appropriate treatment, based on BTS/SIGN guidance for acute asthma
  • Appropriately follow up patients discharged from hospital following emergency treatment for asthma


Asthma is a common long-term inflammatory condition characterised by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. If a person’s asthma is poorly controlled their symptoms can worsen and turn into an acute exacerbation or asthma attack.

If patients are over-reliant on their reliever medication, not using an inhaled corticosteroid regularly or incorrectly they are potentially putting themselves at risk of an asthma attack which can be a frightening experience. The majority of asthma attacks are preventable once patients have a comprehensive understanding of their medication(s), how and when to take them and what to do if their symptoms are getting worse.

Within this module we explore how to objectively assess a patient who is having an asthma attack, how to manage their condition and how we ensure it doesn’t happen again through follow-up, review and education.

Log in

To access these modules, you will need to register for a free account. After registering, you'll be able to:

  • Complete the module and access your certificate
  • Save your progress in a module and come back later, if you don't want to complete it in one sitting
  • Revisit your completed modules anytime to refresh your memory and reflect on what you have learned

Media partners

Developed in partnership with

Funded by

Media partners:

The Primary Care Respiratory Academy has been developed and is produced by Cogora, the publisher of Pulse, Nursing in Practice, Healthcare Leader, Management in Practice and The Pharmacist working in partnership with PCRS.

All educational content for the website and videos has been initiated and produced by PCRS and Cogora.

The Primary Care Respiratory Academy is sponsored by Chiesi Ltd.