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Quick Relief Medications For Asthma

Can Medicine Alone Help My Asthma

Asthma Medications

Not usually. Although medicines help a lot, they may not be able to do the job alone. You have to avoid the things that cause or trigger your asthma symptoms as much as you can. Asthma triggers can be found outside or inside your home, school, or workplace.

Improving the indoor air quality in your home is an important part of asthma control. Your indoor air can be more polluted than outside air. Our interactive Healthy Home can show you ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home. A healthier home can reduce your exposure to allergens and irritants.

Will I Have To Take Medicine All The Time

Maybe not. Asthma is a chronic condition that is controllable. Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma. For that reason, you may have asthma symptoms when exposed to triggers. This is the case even if you dont have symptoms very often. Your triggers can change over time, and your treatment will depend on two things: how severe your asthma is, and how often you have symptoms. If your asthma is controlled, your treatment will focus on managing symptoms and treatment of episodes when they happen.

If your symptoms happen at certain times and you know what caused them, you and your doctor can use this information to determine the best treatment. If, for example, you have seasonal asthma because of a specific pollen allergy, you may take medicines only when that pollen is in the air. But asthma that specific is not common. Many people with asthma take some form of medicine most or all of the time.

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  • Short-acting beta agonists These are inhaled medications available to provide instant relief during an asthma flare-up, and the relief may last for several hours. The drugs in this category are the best choice for treating exercise-induced attacks. The class includes Albuterol , pirbuterol , levalbuterol .

The drugs include the following adverse effects:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Rare but serious side effects include bronchospasm, a muscle spasm in the lungs that narrow your airways. They may also cause worsening of pre-existing heart arrhythmias.

    All these medicines relax bronchial smooth muscles usually within 2 to 10 minutes of administration.

    Important tips

    • If you havent used your asthma inhaler for more than two days, you may need to shake it and does a test spray.
    • Make sure that you clean the plastic case once a week. Remove the metal canister and run the case under warm water for at least thirty seconds.
    • Always use a spacer with your fast relief inhaler, so the medicine gets deeper into the lungs and airways.
    • Quick relief, asthma medications can look similar to long-term controller medications. It is necessary to keep both types of asthma medications separate because the medicines will help in a different way. You can also label your fast acting medication with QR to help you identify.

    Taking your medication:

    Looking after your Asthma:

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    How Do Asthma Relievers Work

    Relievers are fast-acting asthma medications. They provide quick relief from the symptoms of asthma wheeze, chest tightness, cough and shortness of breath.

    Also called bronchodilators, relievers relax the airway muscles and open the airways, making it easier to breathe. They work within minutes, with the effects lasting for up to 4 hours.

    Anyone with asthma should always carry a reliever. Relievers usually come in a blue or grey inhaler device. A well-known reliever is Ventolin .

    Relievers can have side effects such as a fast heartbeat , shaking hands and feelings of anxiety or nervousness.

    How Often Will I Have To Take Asthma Drugs

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    Asthma can’t be cured. How often you need to take your medications depends on how severe your condition is and how frequently you have symptoms. For example, if you only have trouble when you exercise, you may only need to use an inhaler before a workout. But most people with asthma need daily treatment.

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    When To Seek Medical Help

    Often, a rescue inhaler is enough to treat an asthma attack.

    If youre unable to get your asthma attack under control, you may need to seek emergency medical attention. Go to the nearest ER if you experience any of the following symptoms:

    • extreme shortness of breath or wheezing, especially in the morning or at night
    • needing to strain your chest muscles to breathe
    • symptoms not subsiding after youve used a rescue inhaler
    • having difficulty speaking

    What Are The Different Types Of Asthma Medicines And Treatments

    There are four types of asthma medicines and treatments:

  • Quick-relief medicines These medicines work quickly to relieve sudden symptoms. You take them as needed and at the first sign of symptoms.
  • Controller medicines These medicines help control asthma by correcting the underlying changes in the airways, such as swelling and excess mucus. They can be one or a combination of medicines.
  • Combination of quick-relief and controller medicines These medicines are used for both short-term relief and control.
  • Biologics This type of treatment targets a cell or protein to prevent swelling inside the airways. They are for people with certain types of persistent asthma and are given by injection or infusion.
  • 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.

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    How Do You Decide What Treatment Is Right For Your Asthma

    Patients want to have a say in their care and treatment choices. We call it . This is where your asthma specialist discusses with you the pros and cons of a specific test or treatment. You then work together to decide what is best for you. These decisions will guide the development of your Asthma Action Plan.

    Studies show when patients and healthcare providers partner on decisions, it improves health outcomes. Shared Decision-Making helps improve patients knowledge of their condition. They are also more likely to follow their treatment plans and go to follow-up appointments.

    Inhalers Nebulizers And Pills As Asthma Medicine

    Module 3: Asthma Medications

    There are a few ways to take asthma medications. Some are inhaled, using a metered dose inhaler, dry powder inhaler, or a nebulizer . Others are taken by mouth, either in pill or liquid form. They can also be given by injection.

    Some asthma drugs can be taken together. And some inhalers mix two different medications to get the drugs to your airways quicker.

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    How To Get The Most Out Of Your Asthma Medicine

    Asthma medicines do not cure asthma, but they can help improve your symptoms. The most important thing is to take your medicine exactly as your healthcare provider has instructed you to take them. That means, taking the right medicine at the right time and with the proper technique!

    Set up a system that will work best for you and the people who help care for you:

    • Make a medicine schedule showing what you take and when
    • Ask a friend or family member to help you organize your “system”
    • Connect taking your medicine with your routine habits, such as before or after certain meals or when you brush your teeth in the morning or evening
    • Set an alarm to ring
    • Use a weekly pill box that has sections for each day and different times of the day

    When using metered-dose inhalers, which can be either a quick-relief medicine or a long-term control medicine, use a valved holding chamber to get the most of your medicines. Haven’t heard of this device? Learn about valved holding chambers and spacers.

    Side Effects Of Asthma Medications

    Many medications have side effects. For example, inhaled steroids can cause mild problems, such as thrush infections and a sore throat, or more serious ones including eye disorders and bone loss. Keep your doctor up to date with how well your treatment is working and whether you have side effects. TheyĆ¢ll work with you to keep your asthma under control with as little medicine as possible.

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    What Are The Different Types Of Delivery Devices For Asthma Medicines

    You take most asthma medicines by breathing them in using an inhaler or nebulizer. An inhaler or nebulizer allows the medicine to go directly to your lungs. But some asthma medicines are in pill form, infusion form, or injectable form.

    Inhalers

    There are four types of asthma inhaler devices that deliver medicine: metered dose inhalers , dry powder inhalers , breath actuated inhalers, and soft mist inhalers.

    • Metered dose inhalers have medicine plus a propellant. The propellant sprays the medicine out of the inhaler in a short burst.
    • Dry powder inhalers do not have a propellant and do not spray the medicine out of the inhaler. The medicine is released from the inhaler when you breathe it in.
    • Breath actuated inhalers have a dry powder or aerosol medicine. The medicine does not spray out of the inhaler. The medicine is released from the inhaler when you breathe it in.
    • Soft mist inhalers do not have propellant, but they do spray the medicine out of the inhaler. They create a cloud of medicine that sprays out softly.

    Different types of asthma devices

    For inhalers to work well, you must use them correctly. But 70 to 90% of people who use inhalers make at least one mistake when using their inhaler.1 Inhaler mistakes can lead to uncontrolled asthma. Ask your doctor or nurse to watch you use your inhaler to make sure you are using it correctly.

    Spacers and valved holding chambers

    Nebulizers

    Injectables

    Create An Asthma Action Plan

    Asthma Management: Long

    An asthma action plan is a written treatment plan that describes the following:

    • How to identify allergens or irritants to avoid
    • How to know if you are having an asthma attack and what to do
    • Which medicines to take and when to take them
    • When to call your doctor or go to the emergency room
    • Who to contact in an emergency

    Watch the video or download a sample Asthma Action Plan.

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    What Are The Forms Of Bronchodilators

    There are two forms of bronchodilators:

    • Short-acting bronchodilators. Short-acting bronchodilators quickly relieve or stop sudden asthma symptoms. Theyre effective for three to six hours. Another name for a short-acting bronchodilator is a rescue inhaler. Inhalers are canisters of medicine in a plastic holder with a mouthpiece. When you spray an inhaler, it gives a consistent dose of medication.
    • Long-acting bronchodilators. Long-acting bronchodilators keep your airways open for 12 hours. You use these inhalers every day to prevent asthma attacks.

    What Is A Bronchodilator

    A bronchodilator is a type of medication that relieves the symptoms of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung conditions. It quickly relaxes the muscle bands that tighten around your airways . When those muscles relax, more air comes in and out of your lungs so you can breathe comfortably.

    Bronchodilators also help clear mucus from your lungs. As your airways open, mucus moves more freely, which allows you to cough mucus out of your body easily.

    Bronchodilators are primarily available as inhalers and nebulizer solutions.

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    Drugs For Preventing And Treating Asthma

    , DO, Wake Forest Baptist Health

    Drugs allow most people with asthma to lead relatively normal lives. Most of the drugs used to treat an asthma attack can be used to prevent attacks.

    Therapy is based on two classes of drugs:

    • Anti-inflammatory drugs

    • Bronchodilators

    Anti-inflammatory drugs suppress the inflammation that narrows the airways. Anti-inflammatory drugs include corticosteroids , leukotriene modifiers, and mast cell stabilizers.

    Bronchodilators help to relax and widen the airways. Bronchodilators include beta-adrenergic drugs , anticholinergics, and methylxanthines.

    Other types of drugs that directly alter the immune system are sometimes used for people with severe asthma, but most people do not need immunomodulators.

    Types Of Asthma Medicines

    Nonsteroidal Anti-Asthma Agents (Quick Medical Overview)

    The following medicines are commonly used to treat asthma. It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s advice about your treatment.

    Bronchodilators relax the muscles around the airways . When the airways are more open, it is easier to breathe. There are two general types of bronchodilators, and you may be prescribed one or both types:

    • Short-Acting bronchodilators work quickly after you take them so that you feel relief from symptoms quickly.
    • Long-Acting bronchodilators have effects that last a long time. They should not be used for quick relief. These medications are only recommended for use when combined with an anti-inflammatory asthma medicine .

    Anti-inflammatory medicines reduce the swelling and mucus production inside the airways. When that inflammation is reduced, it is easier to breathe. These medicines also are called corticosteroids or steroids. Most often, these are inhaled medications and it is important to rinse out your mouth with water immediately after using them to avoid getting thrush, a yeast infection in your throat.

    Some corticosteroids come in pill form and usually are used for short periods of time in special circumstances, such as when your symptoms are getting worse.

    There are a few medicines that combine inhaled bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids.

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    What Else Should I Know

    Your doctor will decide which type of medicine your child needs based on their symptoms and how often they happen. Report any concerns or changes in the symptoms to help your doctor find the best treatment and make updates when needed. If possible, keep a log or diary of symptoms for your doctor.

    For many kids, the type of medicine used and its dosage will change as they grow and their symptoms change.

    Asthma Holding Chamber Or Spacer

    A valved holding chamber is a handheld device that attaches to a metered-dose inhaler . It captures the medicated mist as it sprays out. The medication is trapped long enough inside the holding chamber to be inhaled at your own speed. It also pulls out large particles of medication and prevents them from settling in your mouth or throat.

    A spacer is like a valved holding chamber, but it does not suspend the medication. So, when using it you must coordinate your breath to begin slightly before actuating the MDI.

    Holding chambers are available for use with and without masks. Masks are often essential for children, the elderly, or some disabled people. Anyone who cannot close their lips securely around the mouthpiece should use a mask. Anyone who needs to take several breaths to inhale the medication fully should use a mask.

    How to use a spacer or holding chamber

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    Will Medicine Help Me Sleep Better

    Yes, if you have nighttime asthma symptoms. Many people wake up with asthma symptoms such as coughing or wheezing. You can control nighttime symptoms by taking asthma medicines as directed by your doctor.

    Removing triggers where you sleep may help you sleep better. Many people are allergic to dust mites and mold found in bedding materials. Using mattress or pillow encasements can help contain those allergens. Dehumidifiers can also be helpful to reduce the humidity in your home that dust mites and mold need to exist. Using air cleaners in your bedroom may also help reduce your exposure to allergens and irritants .

    How To Use A Metered

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    • Shake the inhaler after removing the cap.

    • Exhale fully for 1 or 2 seconds.

    • Put the inhaler in your mouth or 1 to 2 inches from it and start to breathe in slowly, like sipping hot soup.

    • While starting to breathe in, press the top of the inhaler.

    • Breathe in slowly until your lungs are full.

    • Hold your breath for 10 seconds .

    • Breathe out and, if a second dose is required, repeat the procedure after 1 minute.

    • If you find it difficult to coordinate breathing using this method, a spacer can be used.

    A nebulizer can be used to deliver beta-adrenergic drugs directly to the lungs. A nebulizer uses pressurized air or ultrasonic sound waves to create a continuous mist of drug that is inhaled without having to coordinate dosing with breathing. Nebulizers are often portable, and some units can even be plugged into a power outlet in a car. Nebulizers and metered-dose inhalers often deliver different amounts of drug with a single dose, but both are capable of delivering sufficient amounts of drug to the lungs. Nebulizer therapy is less likely to reach the more distant airways in people who are breathing comfortably and not taking deep breaths, making nebulized therapy less effective than a correctly used metered-dose inhaler or a dry powder formulation.

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    Improving Asthma With Tools And Devices

    Asthma is a cyclical disease, with episodes that come and go. Asthma flare ups dont just happen, however. Subtle warning signs are there if you know where and how to look. By the time you begin coughing or wheezing, its too late. Your lungs are already congested and compromised. Thats why you need to pay close attention to the subtle signs. Follow the asthma treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.

    The following management tools are proven to be excellent for anticipating, treating, and shortening an asthma attack. Always keep in mind that the real goal is to prevent or minimize asthma symptoms.

    Other Drugs Used To Prevent And Treat Asthma

    Other drugs are occasionally used in asthma treatment. These drugs may be used in specific circumstances. Magnesium is often given by vein in the emergency department for acute attacks.

    Other drugs that may be given for chronic asthma include lidocaine or heparin given with a nebulizer, colchicine, and intravenous immune globulin. Evidence supporting the use of any of these therapies is limited, so these drugs are used much less often.

    , such as older age, family members with osteoporosis, a diet that is low in calcium and vitamin D, or thin build, may need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements and bisphosphonates to try to preserve bone density.

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