Identifying And Avoiding Triggers
- Secondhand smoke
- Chemical irritants
The EPA offers resources on actions you can take to address these environmental triggers and reduce your chances of an asthma attack.
Do Asthma Medicines Have Side Effects
Yes. All medicines have side effects. Tell your doctor how you are responding to the treatment and if you have any side effects. Follow up often with your doctor so you can control your asthma with the least amount of medicines and with the fewest side effects.
Medical Review: June 2021 by S. Allan Bock, MD Maureen George, PhD, RN, AEC, FAAN and Sumita Khatri, MD, MS
References1. Bonds, R., Asawa, A. and Ghazi, A. . Misuse of medical devices: a persistent problem in self-management of asthma and allergic disease. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 114, pp.74-76.e2.
Asthma Action Plan
Are People With Asthma At Higher Risk Of Poor Outcomes From Covid
Despite the lack of hard data, the WHO, the CDC, and lung disease specialists are in agreement: People with asthma have a higher risk of severe illness and death with respiratory infections in general. Because of this, any child or adult with moderate to severe asthma should consider themselves at risk for severe COVID-19 disease and take extra precautions with their health.
This is especially true for anyone who has been admitted to the hospital for asthma in the last 12 months, or who has ever been admitted to an intensive care unit for their asthma.
Why is this recommendation in place when there is no hard evidence? Heres why.
Any infection in the lung can trigger an asthma attack, causing the smallest airways in the lung to tighten up and let very little air in and out. The symptoms are sudden and severe: shortness of breath, wheezing, and cough. If the infection is mild, for example with a common cold, asthma symptoms can usually be managed at home. Most people with asthma have an asthma action plan that tells them how to manage their symptoms when they get worse, and when to seek medical attention.
If the infection is more serious, a person with an asthma attack may need emergency treatment in the hospital with oxygen, nebulizers, and corticosteroids. Usually things improve pretty quickly. Antibiotics help to treat a bacterial lung infection if there is one, and flu treatments like Tamiflu can help shorten symptoms if the infection is caused by the flu.
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How Should An Asthma Cough Be Treated
If your doctor diagnoses you with cough-variant asthma, treatment is generally the same as treatment for other types of asthma. These inhaled medications are available in rapid-acting, long-acting, and combination formulations. Your cough should get better gradually with the use of these common asthma medications:
Bronchodilators rapidly relieve coughing and other asthma symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath. You generally take quick-relief medications by breathing them into your lungs with an inhaler. A commonly prescribed quick-relief medication is albuterol , a bronchodilator that relieves your cough by relaxing and opening your narrowed airways.
Inhaled corticosteroids help relieve your cough by reducing airway inflammation.
What Should I Know About Covid
If you have asthma that is moderate-to-severe, or if your asthma symptoms arent well controlled, youre at greater risk of having to be hospitalized if you get COVID-19. Therefore, you should wear a mask if you go to indoor spaces with other people, get vaccinated and avoid exposure to people who have the virus.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Many people live fulfilling lives with asthma. Some professional athletes with asthma have set records in their sports. Your healthcare provider can help you find the best way to manage your asthma. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to control your symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/19/2022.
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Facts You Should Know About Asthma
- Asthma is a lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the breathing passages of the lungs .
- Seek medical care if youre experiencing a spasmodic cough at night, wheezing, trouble breathing, and chest pain or tightness.
- Treatment involves the use of quick-relief and long-term control medications.
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Addressing And Controlling Allergies
Dr. Meadows recommends all of his allergic asthma patients undergo allergy testing. Testing also makes us aware of what could cause an asthma attack, he says. By knowing your triggers, you can take steps to avoid them whenever possible.
If you have allergies that are non-avoidable, such as being allergic to a family pet, I recommend getting allergy shots, Dr. Meadows says. Since its not easy to avoid all allergens, allergy shots are a natural way to help dampen the immune systems response and lessen your asthma symptoms.
For some allergies, theres an easier solutionavoidance. Its possible to avoid allergens such as smoke from a fireplace or bonfire. These triggers are particularly harmful to people with asthma, even if their symptoms are well-controlled, Dr. Meadows says.
If allergies are a trigger for your asthma, Zyrtec may help, but the mainstay of any action plan should be inhalers and seeking medical attention when needed, Dr. Parikh says.
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Why Is Asthma Keeping Me Awake
Its common for asthma symptoms to come on at night, but you shouldnt have to put up with them. Night-time asthma symptoms are a sign that your asthma isnt well controlled, and you may be at risk of an asthma attack.
If your symptoms come on early in the morning, it could be a sign your asthma has been difficult through the night, even if you werent aware of it.
Here are some reasons why your symptoms may come on at night:
There is also evidence to suggest that a lack of sleep can make your asthma symptoms worse. If youre struggling with sleep and its affecting your asthma, speak to your GP or asthma nurse.
What Are The Possible Side
Most people who take cough medicines do not have side-effects. Some cough preparations can cause drowsiness. If you are drowsy after taking a cough medicine, you should not drive and you should not operate machinery. The leaflet that comes with your medicine will state if the medicine can cause drowsiness.
Pholcodine may cause constipation.
Note: the above is not the full list of side-effects for these medicines. Please see the leaflet that comes with your particular brand for a full list of possible side-effects and cautions.
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Causes Of Constant Phlegm In Throat
Phlegm is quite common, normal, and required for proper bodily function. Your body produces about 1 to 1.5 liters of mucus per day.1
Mucus oils the engine so to speak, lubricating your tissues and keeping them from drying out. It also contains antibodies and enzymes that identify and destroy bacteria and germs. This sticky goo even traps dust and germs before they make their way into the rest of your body.2
Phlegm is produced by tissue in your throat, lungs, mouth, nose, sinuses, and gastrointestinal tract. Most of the time this mucus drips down your throat unnoticed. But certain conditions can cause the consistency to change, commanding both attention and throat clearing.
Here are a few of the most common causes of persistent phlegm in throat.
Common causes of a nagging cough
Less common causes of a nagging cough
- Airborne environmental irritants
If youâre like most people with a lingering cough, consider these major causes:
1. Postnasal drip . The human nose is more than the organ of smell. It is also the gateway to the lower respiratory tract. As such, its job is to condition the air passing through en route to the lungs. The nose warms air that is cool, adds moisture to air that is dry, and removes particles from air that is dirty. The nasal membranes accomplish all three tasks by producing mucus that is warm, moist, and sticky.
Postnasal drip is the leading cause of the lingering cough. But itâs far from the only cause.
A Multitude Of Cough Causes
While coughing exists to protect us from infections of the respiratory tract, it is commonly found with other conditions, too. We associate asthma with wheezing and difficulty breathing, but for many, its main symptom is a cough. Heartburn is the cardinal symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease , but the stomach acid irritating the esophagus and the back of the throat can also produce a nasty cough.
Coughing is also a side effect of several drugs, most notably ACE inhibitors such as lisinopril and enalapril, which are mainstays in the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure. The ACE inhibitor cough sometimes begins months after you start taking the drug. Fortunately, there are good alternatives for those who have this problem.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , bacterial sinusitis, lung cancer all may announce their presence with a cough. And, of course, theres the infamous smokers hack.
Several other conditions can also cause postnasal drip and its resulting cough, including sinusitis, exposure to air pollution, hay fever , and other allergies that cause nasal congestion.
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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.
Can Medicine Alone Help My Asthma
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.
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What Is The Best Position To Sleep With Asthma
Alleviating some of your nocturnal asthma symptoms can be as simple as changing your sleeping position. One study found that the supine sleep position improved night-time asthma symptoms and constricts your lungs less than lying on your stomach or side.
The best sleeping position for asthma patients is to prop yourself up with extra pillows. This will help to keep the airways open and reduce your risk of a night-time cough.
How Do I Handle An Asthma Flare
If you feel like a flare-up is about to happen, stay calm. Let people around you know what’s going on. Then remember your asthma action plan. That’s the written plan that tells you what to do next.
Stay calm and focus on what your asthma action plan says. Your doctor probably told you to use your quick-relief medicine, so do that first.
If you can figure out what triggered your symptoms , remove the trigger or yourself from the area. Sometimes that’s all you need to get your asthma under control again.
If a flare-up is more severe, you might need to get help.
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Care Advice For Asthma Attack
Why Is My Asthma Worse At Night
Asthma that gets worse at night is sometimes called nighttime asthma or nocturnal asthma. There are no definite reasons that this happens, but there are some educated guesses. These include:
- The way you sleep: Sleeping on your back can result in mucus dripping into your throat or acid reflux coming back up from your stomach. Also, sleeping on your back puts pressure on your chest and lungs, which makes breathing more difficult. However, lying face down or on your side can put pressure on your lungs.
- Triggers in your bedroom and triggers that happen in the evening: You may find your blankets, sheets and pillows have dust mites, mold or pet hair on them. If youve been outside in the early evening, you may have brought pollen in with you.
- Medication side effects: Some drugs that treat asthma, such as steroids and montelukast, can affect your sleep.
- Air thats too hot or too cold: Hot air can cause airways to narrow when you breathe in. Cold air is an asthma trigger for some people.
- Lung function changes: Lung function lessens at night as a natural process.
- Asthma is poorly controlled during the day: Symptoms that arent controlled during the day wont be better at night. Its important to work with your provider to make sure your asthma symptoms are controlled both day and night. Treating nighttime symptoms is very important. Serious asthma attacks, and sometimes deaths, can happen at night.
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When To See A Doctor
If your asthma is uncontrolled, seek medical advice as soon as possible to prevent a dangerous breathing problem. If youre having warning signs such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain, especially at night or on exertion, its important to see a board-certified allergist or pulmonologist, Dr. Parikh says. Then, check back in with your provider any time you have a change in symptoms. Your treatment plan can be adjusted as needed.
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.
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
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When Should I Go To The Er
Don’t be embarrassed to get medical help if you think you need it. These situations call for emergency care:
- You take your asthma medicine and your flare-up doesn’t get any better.
- You feel a little better after taking your medicine, but your symptoms come back quickly.
- You have frequent wheezing, a lasting cough, or chest pain.
- Your lips and fingernails are bluish or grayish.
- You have trouble breathing, talking, or walking.