What Asthma Treatment Options Are There
You have options to help manage your asthma. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to control symptoms. These include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medicines reduce swelling and mucus production in your airways. They make it easier for air to enter and exit your lungs. Your healthcare provider may prescribe them to take every day to control or prevent your symptoms.
- Bronchodilators: These medicines relax the muscles around your airways. The relaxed muscles let the airways move air. They also let mucus move more easily through the airways. These medicines relieve your symptoms when they happen.
- Biologic therapies for asthma when symptoms persist despite being on proper inhaler therapy.
You can take asthma medicines in several different ways. You may breathe in the medicines using a metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer or other inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.
What Are The Different Types Of Asthma Medicines And Treatments
There are four types of asthma medicines and treatments:
The difference between these asthma treatments can be confusing. It is important to understand what each treatment does and how they help your asthma. Learning how to use each correctly can you help keep your asthma well-controlled. Always take your medicines as directed by your doctor and follow your Asthma Action Plan.
What Are The Treatments For Asthma
If you have asthma, you will work with your health care provider to create a treatment plan. The plan will include ways to manage your asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. It will include
- Strategies to avoid triggers. For example, if tobacco smoke is a trigger for you, you should not smoke or allow other people to smoke in your home or car.
- Short-term relief medicines, also called quick-relief medicines. They help prevent symptoms or relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. They include an inhaler to carry with you all the time. It may also include other types of medicines which work quickly to help open your airways.
- Control medicines. You take them every day to help prevent symptoms. They work by reducing airway inflammation and preventing narrowing of the airways.
If you have a severe attack and the short-term relief medicines do not work, you will need emergency care.
Your provider may adjust your treatment until asthma symptoms are controlled.
Sometimes asthma is severe and cannot be controlled with other treatments. If you are an adult with uncontrolled asthma, in some cases your provider might suggest bronchial thermoplasty. This is a procedure that uses heat to shrink the smooth muscle in the lungs. Shrinking the muscle reduces your airway’s ability to tighten and allows you to breathe more easily. The procedure has some risks, so it’s important to discuss them with your provider.
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How Can I Deal With Stress During The Covid
Even though the number of COVID-19 cases have gone down, nearly everyone is still experiencing stress because of the pandemic. Some also are concerned as more activities return and businesses increase capacity and relax mask mandates. Stress can affect your well-being and quality of life. It can be an asthma trigger. Itâs important that you continue to take care of yourself during this time.
Find some self-care practices that work for you. Some examples are:
- Try a hobby
- Take breaks from the news and social media
- Take care of your body through exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep habits
- Practice deep breathing and stretching
- Keep in touch with friends and family
The CDC also offers more information on coping with stress.
When you have a chronic disease like asthma, taking part in a support group can have many benefits. AAFA has free online support groups for people with asthma and allergies. For support and encouragement through the COVID-19 pandemic, join the AAFA community.
So What Are The Symptoms You Should Watch Out For
Which signs of asthma you might experience differs from person to person and some are more common than others, Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells SELF. Its possible that youll have such a mild reaction to one of your personal asthma triggers that you dont take much note of it. But if the effects get worse, they can turn into an asthma attack, which is a potentially life-threatening exacerbation of asthma symptoms. Thats why its so important to know the common signs of asthma, including the more subtle ones.
These are classic asthma signs you should know:
Shortness of breath: This is an obvious complication that happens when you cant get enough oxygen due to the way your airways and their surrounding muscles are reacting to asthma triggers, Sadia Benzaquen, M.D., a pulmonologist and associate professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, tells SELF.
Cough: When an irritant gets into your throat or airways, it stimulates nerves that prompt your brain to make the muscles in your chest and abdomen expel air from your lungs with a cough, according to the Mayo Clinic. Since a sensitivity to irritants can cause asthma symptoms, coughing is a hallmark sign of this condition, says Dr. Benzaquen. In fact, its the most common sign of asthma Dr. Parikh has seen people ignore.
Some people may have these less common signs of asthma:
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What Is An Asthma Action Plan
Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop an asthma action plan. This plan tells you how and when to use your medicines. It also tells you what to do if your asthma gets worse and when to seek emergency care. Understand the plan and ask your healthcare provider about anything you dont understand.
What Is The Best Type Of Humidifier For Asthmatics
A humidifier for an asthma sufferer should only disperse water into the air by evaporation. You may think that all humidifiers use evaporation to get water into the air. However, this is not the case please see the diagram below and this article for further details.
If using a portable humidifier, asthmatics should not use an ultrasonic humidifier or cool mist humidifier. This is because these humidifiers can transmit water droplets directly into the atmosphere . The same also applies to an impeller humidifier. Also in the room temperature water of these humidifiers, bacteria and fungi can grow. If these humidifiers have bacteria and fungi growing in the water, these will be breathed in by the asthmatic person and potentially irritate or even infect the airways. So a dirty humidifier is a potential threat to an asthmatic.
Both a warm mist humidifier and an evaporative humidifier use evaporation alone to get moisture into the air .
Other impurities in the water in the humidifier can also be a problem. Using distilled water in the humidifier can lessen this risk, but it is safest to use a warm mist humidifier or an evaporative humidifier.
So in general the best type of humidifier for an asthmatic is a warm mist humidifier. However, if you have children or pets, then to avoid injury to them from steam or boiling water, it would be best to opt for an evaporative humidifier.
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The Impact Of Asthma On Daily Life
Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death.
Dont Forget Your Asthma Inhalers
Your asthma action plan also identifies other ways to keepyour asthma in line, like using a rescueinhaler to provide short-term symptom relief and a maintenance inhaler that deliversmedicine every day for long-term asthma control.
If your asthma is severe enough to require daily medications, dont think Im fine, I dont need my inhaler today, says Dr. Latifi. Thats a mistake. Daily controllers like steroid inhalers prevent flare-ups from occurring. They keep airway inflammation the cause of asthma under control.
Once you experience symptoms, your asthma has alreadystarted to spiral out of control. Even at this point, many people push offtreatment. They may try to ride out the symptoms for a few days and see if thesituation improves.
But dont wait, Dr. Latifi urges: If you feel symptoms, useyour rescue inhaler and contact your provider who may suggest you come in for atreatment. Asthma is life-threatening, so waiting even a few days can land youin the emergency room or a hospital bed.
He offers two additional tips for asthma medicines:
- Use a spacer:A spacer disperses the drug more efficiently so the lungs can quickly put it touse. It also results in less of the medicine sticking to your mouth and throat.
- Rinseyour mouth: Rinsing may help you avoid thrush, a white film in the back ofyour mouth and throat. Steroid inhalers can lead to thrush because the steroidmesses with the bacterial balance of your palate.
What Precautions Should People With Asthma Take
Make sure your asthma is under control before winter arrives. See your doctor to develop an asthma action plan and then take the medicines your doctor prescribes. You may take medicine every day or just when you need it .
Long-term controller medicines are drugs you take every day to manage your asthma symptoms. They include:
- inhaled corticosteroids, such as fluticasone
- long-acting beta-agonists, such as salmeterol
- leukotriene modifiers, such as montelukast
Note: Long-acting beta-agonists are always used alongside inhaled corticosteroids.
Quick-relief medicines are drugs that you only take when you need them, such as before exercising in the cold. Short-acting bronchodilators and anticholinergics are examples of these drugs.
Humidifiers With Air Washers
Air washers purify the air of a room and remove all allergens, smoke and other pathogens from the air making it more healthy and comfortable. Nowadays some humidifiers have air washers for cleaning the air of the room. You donÃ¢t have to buy a separate device for this purpose. So if you are buying a humidifier for asthma and allergies, it is better to buy one with the air purifier so that it also makes the air of room more clean and healthy.
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And Heres What You Can Expect With Treatment Which Is Generally Either Long
One of the most important ways to treat asthma is to avoid being exposed to your triggers, Dr. Wilgus says. Of course, that can feel impossible if your trigger is something thats seemingly everywhere, like dust or pollen. Though you can definitely take steps to reduce your exposure to those, avoiding them entirely is tough. Luckily, there are medications that can help when youve done everything you can trigger-wise.
Asthma medications generally fall into two categories: long-term preventive medications and fast-acting drugs that can help when youre having an asthma attack or on your way to one. Long-term preventive medications like allergy medications and inhaled anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are designed to help control your asthma so youre less likely to have an asthma attack in the first place, the Mayo Clinic says. Quick-relief medications , like short-acting beta agonists that you use via an inhaler, can help relax your airways when theyre acting up enough that your asthma is noticeably worse.
Whatever you do, dont resign yourself to living with asthma symptoms like trouble breathing and coughing all the time. Asthma is a very controllable illness as long as the signs and symptoms are not ignored, Dr. Parikh says.
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Differences Between Air Purifiers And Ionizers
One of the biggest differences between traditional air purifiers and ionizers is how they function.
If you get a standard air purifier, it will use some form of a HEPA filter to trap and contain various airborne pollutants that may irritate your asthma.
One of the best options that you should consider for this job includes getting an air purifier that contains a True HEPA filter.
True HEPA filters have the ability to trap particles that are as small as 0.3 microns in size, which includes ultra-fine dust, pet dander, pollen, bacteria, and other common asthma-inducing allergens.
In many cases, traditional air purifiers are more effective than an ionizer too, which means they are better at removing particles that may irritate your asthma.
For more information about the differences between these two air purifiers, we have another article that goes more in-depth on this topic here: HEPA air purifier vs ionizer.
With more information, youll be able to make a better decision about which air purifier option is right for you.
You Sometimes Have Trouble Speaking
If you find it difficult to speak a full sentence without having to pause to take a breath, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Trouble speaking is usually the result of an inability to take enough air into your lungs to allow you to let it out at the slow, deliberate rate required for speech.
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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.
What Type Of Humidifier Works Best For Asthma
If youre looking to buy a humidifier to help with asthma symptoms, youll need to know what type will work best.
There are two types of humidifiers for your consideration:
- Warm mist or steam humidifiers Also known as vaporizers, these are the humidifiers most recommended when it comes to asthma. Because the water inside reaches a boiling temperature, most microorganisms are eliminated in the process. However, its still advised that you regularly clean the humidifier regardless.
- Cool mist humidifier This type of humidifier uses a motor to agitate the water, which creates a mist that is then dispersed through the room via a fan or natural air currents. Because the water isnt heated, theres a greater chance for bacteria and mould spores to enter the air. Subsequently, this type of humidifier requires more frequent cleaning.
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What Is Asthma Anyway
First up, a little anatomy refresher: Your airways, which extend between your nose and mouth and your lungs, have the very important job of carrying air in and out of your body, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When you have asthma, triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, cold air, cigarette smoke, exercise, and respiratory infections like colds cause your airways to get inflamed, according to the NHLBI. That inflammation can cause swelling, which in turn can prompt the muscles around your airways to tighten, making it hard to get air in and out. At the same time, your airways might also expel more mucus than they usually do, making it even harder to breathe.
Experts dont know exactly what causes some people to get asthma when others dont, but its pretty safe to assume that its probably a combination of environmental factors and genetic factors. For example, if someone in your immediate family has asthma, youre more likely to have it too, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Beyond that, the general cause is a stronger-than-normal response from your immune system to certain triggers, which is why you get all that inflammation when people without asthma dont, says the NHLBI.