What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack
If you think you’re having an asthma attack, you should:
Never be frightened of calling for help in an emergency.
Try to take the details of your medicines with you to hospital if possible.
If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, get an urgent same-day appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse.
This advice is not for people on SMART or MART treatment. If this applies to you, ask a GP or asthma nurse what to do if you have an asthma attack.
What Causes An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to asthma triggers. Your asthma triggers can be very different from someone elses asthma triggers. Know your triggers and learn how to avoid them. Watch out for an attack when you cant avoid your triggers. Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and infections like flu.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Advair
The most common side effects of Advair include:1-3
- Throat irritation
- Bone thinning or weakness with long-term use
If you experience symptoms of airway tightening, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face/mouth/lips/tongue, or skin reactions, stop using Advair and contact 911 right away.
These are not all the possible side effects of Advair. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with Advair.
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What To Do If Youre Having An Attack
Weve previously discussed what to do if youre having an asthma attack without your inhaler. Now lets talk about what to do if youre experiencing an asthma attack and do have your inhaler.
If youre having an asthma attack, take the following steps:
Its also important to see your doctor after an asthma attack, even if you feel better. Its possible that your asthma medications or asthma action plan may need to be adjusted. This can help to reduce your chances of having another asthma attack in the future.
Talk To Your Asthma Specialist
If youÃÂ¢ve been diagnosed with asthma but your treatment doesnÃÂ¢t seem to work anymore, itÃÂ¢s time to see your doctor again. Likewise, if youÃÂ¢re having to use your rescue inhaler too often, see your doctor. You may need to change your asthma treatment for better control.
Though asthma is common, itÃÂ¢s a serious condition that needs a diagnosis and treatment. Talk to your doctor for asthma support, and find the medications that work best for you.
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Ten Common Mistakes With Inhaler Technique
1. Not using the right technique for your inhaler
It can take time to practice and master the right technique for your inhaler. There are two main types of inhaler – dry powder inhalers and metred dose inhalers . Depending on which type you use, youll need to use a different inhaler technique. If youre not sure what type of inhaler you have, ask your GP, asthma nurse or pharmacist.
- MDIs You need to breathe in slow and steady and, at the same time, press the canister on the inhaler once. Continue to breathe in slowly over 3 to 5 seconds, until your lungs feel full.
- DPIs If you use a dry powder inhaler, you need to breathe in quickly and deeply until your lungs feel full. This makes sure the medicine is completely inhaled.
Watch our inhaler videos to check the right technique for your inhaler.
2. Not using a spacer
A lot of people dont realise that using a spacer is the best way to take their MDI inhaler. Spacers help the right amount of medicine get to your lungs and reduce side effects. Find out more about how spacers work.
3. Not breathing out fully before using your inhaler
People often dont breathe out as fully as they need to before using their inhaler. When you breathe out as fully as you can just before taking your inhaler, you create more space in your lungs for your next breath in. This means that you can breathe in deeper and for longer when you inhale your asthma medicine – giving it the best chance of reaching the small airways deep inside your lungs.
Asthma Inhaler Type: Dry Powder Inhaler
Dry powder inhalers are used for control medications such as long-acting beta-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids .2 These inhalers cannot be used with a valved holding chamber or spacer. To use these inhalers, you must be able to breathe in forcefully enough to draw the medication into the lungs.
Figure 4. Dry powder inhalers
Instructions for dry powder inhalers vary by device, so reading the instructions for your inhaler is especially important. Some product websites also have videos with a demonstration. General guidelines for using a dry powdered inhaler are:2,3
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What Is An Asthma Inhaler
An asthma inhaler is a handheld device that delivers medication straight into your lungs. You get the drugs faster — and with fewer side effects — than you would if you took it by pill or IV.
Asthma inhalers can deliver drugs in a variety of ways.
Formerly called metered dose inhalers , HFAs give the drug through a small, handheld aerosol canister. They work like a spray can. You push the inhaler, it sprays out the medicine, and you breathe it in. A tube-like gadget called a spacer can help kids or people with trouble breathing use an HFA more easily.
Using an HFA without a spacer
Using an HFA with a spacer
How do you use a spacer device?
Ingredients In An Asthma Inhaler
Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by increased mucus production and airway narrowing due to swelling and tightening of the airway muscles.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Inhalers are frequently used to manage asthma and treat attacks. They deliver medication directly into the lungs rather than traveling through the bloodstream. Medicines commonly found in inhalers are short-acting beta agonists, anticholinergics, long-acting beta agonists and corticosteroids.
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How Should This Medicine Be Used
Albuterol comes as a solution to inhale by mouth using a special jet nebulizer and as an aerosol or powder to inhale by mouth using an inhaler. When the inhalation aerosol or powder for oral inhalation is used to treat or prevent symptoms of lung disease, it is usually used every 4 to 6 hours as needed. When the inhalation aerosol or powder for oral inhalation is used to prevent breathing difficulty during exercise, it is usually used 15 to 30 minutes before exercise. The nebulizer solution is usually used three or four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use albuterol exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Albuterol controls symptoms of asthma and other lung diseases but does not cure them. Do not stop using albuterol without talking to your doctor.
Your inhaler may come with an attached counter that keeps track of the number of inhalations you have used. The counter also tells you when to call your doctor or pharmacist to refill your prescription and when there are no inhalations left in the inhaler. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to use the counter. If you have this type of inhaler, you should not try to change the numbers or remove the counter from the inhaler.
Be careful not to get albuterol inhalation into your eyes.
To Inhale The Solution Using A Nebulizer Follow These Steps
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
COPD is an obstructive lung disease due to long-term damage to the airways of the lungs. The long-term damage leads to the inability of the airways to open properly, causing airway obstruction. Inhaled medications allow patients to see improvement in symptoms and better function of daily living. Some commonly used inhaled medications in patientâs with COPD are ipratroprium, salmeterol, and corticosteroids.
What Is An Asthma Attack
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs. During an asthma attack, the airways become narrower than normal and can cause difficulty breathing.
The severity of an asthma attack can range from mild to very serious. Some asthma attacks may require prompt medical attention.
The preferred way of treating an asthma attack is to use a rescue inhaler, which contains medication that expands your airways.
But what if youre having an asthma attack and dont have your rescue inhaler available? There are several things that you can do while you wait for your symptoms to subside or for medical attention. Read on to learn more.
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Do I Need An Asthma Preventer
If you have asthma and find yourself needing to use your Ventolin reliever more than once a week, this suggests that Ventolin alone is insufficient in managing your condition. In these cases, it is likely that you will need a preventer inhaler in addition to Ventolin.
If your breathlessness is severe please attend your local A& E department straight away.
Common Questions About Salbutamol Inhalers
Salbutamol is a type of medicine called a bronchodilator. It works by relaxing the muscles of the airways into the lungs, which makes it easier to breathe.
When you have a puff of your salbutamol inhaler it works almost straight away to make your breathing easier. It carries on working for about 5 hours.
Most people will use salbutamol for many years. Once your breathing is better, it may be possible for you or your child to use salbutamol less often. But it’s important to always have your salbutamol inhaler with you so you can use it as soon as you have breathing problems.
Do not stop using salbutamol unless your doctor tells you to. If you stop using salbutamol your breathing problems could get worse. Even if you only have to use salbutamol occasionally, keep your inhaler with you all the time in case you have a sudden attack.
Salbutamol is a type of medicine called a bronchodilator.
Almost everyone who has asthma or COPD is prescribed a bronchodilator inhaler or “reliever” inhaler to help their breathing.
There are 2 main bronchodilators:
Salbutamol and terbutaline work as well as each other. However, the inhalers may look different.
If you have difficulty using a salbutamol inhaler talk to your doctor. Switching to a terbutaline inhaler may be an option for you.
In most cases, you will also be given a “preventer” inhaler to help stop you getting symptoms. Use this every day.
Yes, you can drink alcohol with salbutamol.
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Helping Your Toddler To Use Their Inhaler
They may need to use a spacer with a facemask until theyre ready to use a spacer with a mouthpiece. Watch our video on helping your child to use a spacer with a facemask.
Your GP or asthma nurse will talk to you about which ones are right for your child at their yearly asthma review. If youre finding it hard to give your toddler their inhaler, you might want to try giving them rewards for taking the inhaler, so they feel more excited about it.
Combination Single Maintenance And Reliever Therapy
The guidelines were published in December in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunologyand on the NHLBI website.
The combination medication has been found to be more effective for helping you avoid unexpected trips to the emergency room or your doctors office, and can also help you avoid larger corticosteroid doses which with long-term use raise the risk of side effects such as , high blood pressure, , and .
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How To Use An Inhaler With A Spacer And Mouthpiece
Learning how to properly use an inhaler with a spacer and mouthpiece for asthma ensures the medicine gets deposited into the lungs. Incorrect technique can leave some of the particles from the medicine on your tongue or throat, where it is useless. Inhalers spray the medicine out so that you can breathe it deep into the lungs. A spacer, or holding chamber, is an attachment that should always be used with your inhaler. The spacer holds the medicine in place so you can breathe it in easier. If you have any further questions about inhalers, spacers or mouthpieces contact your doctors office, asthma care team or pharmacy.
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Anyone Having Difficulty Using An Inhaler Can Try A Nebulizer
While not technically an inhaler, theres yet another option for inhaling medicine.
Nebulizer If you have severe asthma and are unable to use a regular inhaler, a nebulizer may be a better option.
This machine turns liquid medicine into a fine mist that you inhale through a mouthpiece, a mask that fits over your nose and mouth, or into your mouth alone.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Your Inhaler
- How often should I use my long-acting inhaler? This type of inhaler is designed to keep your airways open and help prevent attacks.
- When should I use a rescue inhaler? This type is meant to work quickly to open narrow airways and ease your symptoms.
- How do I use the inhaler? More than half of people who use an inhaler donât use it correctly. If you have trouble, a device called a spacer can help.
- What do I do if the inhaler doesnât work well enough? If your medication doesnât help with your symptoms during an attack, an asthma action plan can tell you when to get medical help.
- Are there any side effects? Some asthma medicines can cause noticeable problems, especially if your dosage isnât quite right or you donât take them the way you should.
What Are The Side Effects Of Bronchodilators
The side effects of bronchodilators vary according to which type you use.
Side effects of beta 2-agonists include:
- Nervous or shaky feelings.
- Trouble sleeping.
Some beta 2-agonists, including albuterol, are available as pills or syrups. You may have more side effects when you take these forms because theyre a higher dosage. You also absorb them through your bloodstream.
Side effects of anticholinergic drugs include:
- Dry throat, eyes and nose.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Temporary blurred vision if the medicine gets in your eyes.
Anticholinergic drugs may make it difficult to urinate . Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any conditions that affect your bladder. These conditions may include benign prostate enlargement , bladder stones or prostate cancer.
Side effects of theophylline include:
- Nausea and vomiting.
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