What If I Get Sick Anyway
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you still get sick. As soon as you become sick, contact your doctor. The sooner you treat the illness or asthma episode, you have a better chance of keeping it from getting worse.
- Contact your doctor as soon as possible once you realize you are sick. If you think you may be contagious or have COVID-19, call your doctor first to avoid spreading the illness to others.
- Tell your doctor all the symptoms you are having and how long you have had them.
- If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19 or the flu or are having symptoms of either, share that information with your doctor. Stay home to reduce the risk of spreading illness to other people.
- Let them know what medicines you have been taking and how often including prescription and over-the-counter.
- Follow your new treatment plan, if your doctor gives you one. Asthma can be serious and you may need a course of OCS to fight the inflammation and help you breathe.
- Get plenty of rest. Drink water and eat healthy foods. Continue to avoid your asthma triggers.
- Know your Red Zone signs on your Asthma Action Plan. If you move into the Red Zone, contact your doctor right away or go directly to the emergency room.
If you get sick with a respiratory illness, dont ignore it or try to push through it. That can make your asthma harder to get under control if you get to the point where you need emergency treatment. It can also have serious consequences.
How Is The Condition Diagnosed
To diagnose asthma, your physician will question you about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and conduct lung function tests. You also may be tested for allergies.
Your internist or family physician may refer you to an allergist or pulmonologist for specialized testing or treatment.
After middle age, most adults experience a decrease in their lung capacity. These changes in lung function may lead some physicians to overlook asthma as a possible diagnosis.
Untreated asthma can contribute to even greater permanent loss of lung function. If you have any asthma symptoms, dont ignore them, and dont try to treat them yourself. Get a definitive diagnosis from your health care provider.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Adult Onset Asthma
Regardless of age, asthma symptoms can include:
Dry cough, especially at night or in response to specific triggers
Tightness or pressure in the chest
Wheezing a whistling sound when exhaling
Shortness of breath after exercise or physical exertion
Colds that go to the chest or hang on for 10 days or more
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General Questions About Asthma:
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lining of the airways of the lungs, which makes these airways contract easily. As a result, a person with asthma can experience difficulty breathing and often requires long-term treatment to control this inflammation. You can learn more about asthma here.
Can asthma can cured?
No, not yet. However, it can be controlled, by usingcontroller medicationand by avoiding your allergic and non-allergicasthma triggers.
What is airway remodelling?
Airway remodelling may occur when asthma is not treated or controlled effectively as long term airway inflammation may result in permanent changes in the airways. The actual structure of your airway walls can change causing blockage that cant be completely reversed with treatment.
Asthma is defined as a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways and is characterized by reversible airway obstruction. Irreversible airway obstruction may develop due to the alterations in airway structure that occur with airway remodeling.
Airway remodelling may be, at least somewhat, reversible and preventable. The number of asthma attacks has been associated with greater decline in lung function and a higher risk of airway remodeling. Treatments for asthma may play a significant role by reducing asthma exacerbations resulting in preventing the decline in lung function and airway remodeling. It is extremely important for you to learn how and why your medications work.
Why is my asthma worse at night?
How To Help Someone Having An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler
Trying to help a person struggling through an asthma attack without an inhaler can be a frightening experience, but the most important thing you can do to help is to stay calm. Aside from breathing slowly, staying calm is crucial for the person experiencing an asthma attack and you dont want to add to the stress he is experiencing.
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How Can I Stay Healthy During September
The best way to deal with illness or asthma attacks is to prevent them before they begin.
Signs That Exercise Is Triggering Your Asthma Symptoms
Whether youre out for a run, playing team sports, or cycling to work, dont ignore important signs like:
- needing to use your reliever inhaler
- stopping to catch your breath.
Exercise or allergy?
- If exercise is the trigger, you might notice symptoms coming on after youve exercised. You may need about 30-60 minutes to recover.
- If an allergy is the trigger, , you might notice symptoms during exercise.
Normal exercise symptoms or asthma symptoms?
Its normal to breathe faster or more deeply when we do any strenuous exercise, whether thats Zumba or running up the stairs.
So how can you tell if youre breathless because of the exertion or because your asthma symptoms are flaring up?
Look out for these asthma signs:
- Feeling very short of breath, or like you cant breathe enough air in
- A tight feeling in your chest.
If you have any of these symptoms when you exercise, see your GP to review your asthma.
Always carry your reliever inhaler
Always have your blue reliever inhaler with you so you can quickly deal with asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. Call 999 if your reliever inhaler is not helping.
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Prednisone: A Last Resort For Many
For us, its a sort of last resort to use prednisone. We will get more medication with prednisone , than if using a daily, controller inhaler to keep the swelling down in our lungs. Why?
A controller inhaler is just that inhaled so the medicine goes in the lungs. Prednisone is given as a pill or liquid version and since you swallow it, it goes through your ENTIRE body lungs, liver, kidneys, etc. Its called a systemic steroid because it goes through your whole system.
How much more medicine would you get with one burst of prednisone, vs your daily inhaler ? One doctor did a little math to figure it out. This is what he said:
In order to explain why regular ICSs are a good choice, Ive got to do a little math. Lets say you were just using a rescue inhaler for asthma control and that during the last year you only required one course of oral steroids, prednisone. A usual prednisone burst is 40mg a day for 5 days for a total of 200mg or 200,000mcg. By way of comparison, each dose of Advair 100/50 contains 100mcg of fluticasone, the steroid. If you took Advair 100/50 twice a day, the usual dose, it would take you 1000 days of regular use to equal the amount of steroids in one burst of prednisone on a mcg-per-mcg basis.
So, we would rather take our daily inhaler, be exposed to less medicine over time, and have less side effects. But, sometimes we have no choice but to have a burst of prednisone.
Can Asthma Symptoms Change During Pregnancy
Yes, asthma symptoms often change during pregnancy. Sometimes they get better and sometimes they get worse. We dont really understand what causes these changes.
Getting the flu can set off serious asthma symptoms. Be sure to get a flu shot in October or November every year.
Heartburn also can make your symptoms worse. Heres what you can do to help with heartburn symptoms:
- Sleep with your head up on a pillow .
- Eat smaller meals several times a day.
- Dont eat within 2 hours of bedtime.
- Ask your provider about medicines you can take.
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Do I Need To Change Medicines
Medicines are available to help treat asthma symptoms. Most people who have asthma need at least two types of medicine. A preventive medicine keeps your lungs from becoming inflamed. A quick-relief medicine helps your symptoms if the first one doesnt work. If the medicines you take now arent helping, others may work. Allergy shots might help if your asthma is related to allergies.
Type Of Exercise How Long It Lasts How Hard You’re Working
You may find some kinds exercise are harder on your breathing than others. If your asthma is well controlled, you should be able to do every kind of exercise and sport. The one exception is Scuba diving, which is not recommended for people with asthma because it can be dangerous for them.If you find a certain exercise harder to do, you can:Make sure you to a proper warm-up and cool-down.Take it at a slower pace- if other run eight laps during a practice, you can try running five laps.
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Inhaler Devices For Asthma Medication
Some people need extra help to take their asthma medication and make it work more effectively.
Work with your doctor to decide which device is best for you.Inhalers are the most common devices for asthma medication. The 3 main types of inhaler devices are:
- Metered-dose inhaler an aerosol canister that produces a fine mist of medication. Always shake the canister before use. It is recommended to always use a spacer with your puffer.
- Breath-activated inhaler a spring-loaded aerosol canister. The medication automatically mists out when you start to breathe in through the mouthpiece. These are good for children and for people who find it hard to coordinate a puffer.
- Dry-powder inhalers contain medication as a dry powder, rather than liquid like aerosol inhalers. Deep breathing is required to release medication to the lungs. Young children and anyone who struggles with shortness of breath may find these difficult to use.
Watch National Asthma Council videos which show you how to use different types of inhalers, including this video on how to use a standard metered-dose inhaler.
Some other types of medication may be used for more severe asthma. Your doctor may prescribe these additional therapies or refer you to a respiratory specialist.
Preventer Medication For Children With Asthma
Some children with asthma need to take a regular preventer. This can be an inhaled corticosteroid .
There is also non-steroid medication available, including a tablet.
Talk to your doctor about the best type of medication for your child this usually depends on the childs symptoms and age, as well as how easy it will be to give properly.
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How Asthma Is Treated
While there is no cure for asthma, there are a number of treatments that can help control the condition.
Treatment is based on two important goals, which are:
- relieving symptoms
- preventing future symptoms and attacks
For most people, this will involve the occasional or, more commonly, daily use of medications, usually taken using an inhaler. However, identifying and avoiding possible triggers is also important.
You should have a personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse that includes information about the medicines you need to take, how to recognise when your symptoms are getting worse, and what steps to take when they do so.
These symptoms are often worse at night and early in the morning, particularly if the condition is not well controlled. They may also develop or become worse in response to a certain trigger, such as exercise or exposure to an allergen.
Read our page on the causes of asthma for more information about potential triggers.
Speak to your GP if you think you or your child may have asthma. You should also talk to your doctor or asthma nurse if you have been diagnosed with asthma and you are finding it difficult to control the symptoms.
Cold Weather And Asthma
Cold weather is a common trigger for asthma symptoms.
There are things you can do to help control your symptoms in the cold:
- carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times and keep taking your regular preventer inhaler as prescribed
- if you need to use your inhaler more than usual, speak to your doctor about reviewing your treatment
- keep warm and dry wear gloves, a scarf and a hat, and carry an umbrella
- wrap a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth this will help warm up the air before you breathe it
- try breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth your nose warms the air as you breathe
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Can Certain Foods Help With Asthma
Theres an increasing amount of evidence that suggests certain foods can help to control asthma. One example is ginger. Researchers found that ginger, when combined with commonly used inhaled medications, enhances airway dilation. It is believed that the ginger reduces the contraction of the muscles surrounding the airways.
A study showed that omega-3 fatty acids may help patients be less reliant on rescue medications, and improve quality of life. Its easy to get more foods high in these fats. Sources include walnuts , salmon, pumpkin seeds, and more.
Additionally, it may help your child to get more vitamin B6. It has been shown to help with breathing early in the morning and reduce acute wheezing episodes, and its especially beneficial for patients who are dependent on a steroid for their asthma.
It may also help your child to increase their intake of vitamin C. Studies showed that this reduced episodes of wheezing in children.
You may want to talk to a professional before incorporating new foods into your childs diet.
How To Lower Your Risk Of Asthma Symptoms When Exercising
If exercise triggers your asthma symptoms, its usually a sign that your asthma is not as well controlled as it could be. You can lower your risk of symptoms when you exercise by:
- Using your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed
- Seeing your GP or asthma nurse to review your asthma.
Get more advice on exercising safely and motivation to stay active.
Using your preventer inhalerevery day
Using your preventer inhaler every day can lower your risk of asthma symptoms triggered by exercise.
Your preventer inhaler works in the background to prevent your airways from getting too inflamed. This means your airways are less likely to react when you exercise.
A good preventer inhaler routine can also lower your risk of symptoms triggered by pollen, pollution, or dust when youre exercising.
Seeing your GP or asthma nurse
Your GP or asthma nurse can support you to manage your asthma well so you can feel confident about exercising.
They can check your inhaler technique and update your asthma action plan. They may test your peak flow or suggest different asthma medicines.
A few people whose asthma is triggered by exercise may be told to use their reliever inhaler before they start exercising. For some people, this can help stop symptoms from coming on.
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Side Effects Of Relievers And Preventers
Relievers are a safe and effective medicine, and have few side effects as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands , headaches and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.
Preventers are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially with long-term use.
The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection of the mouth or throat . You may also develop a hoarse voice and sore throat.
Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects, as can rinsing your mouth or cleaning your teeth after using your preventer inhaler.
Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep side effects to a minimum.