Asthma

Hey All! Fall is coming fast! This is a prime season for Asthma to act up. This is a lung condition that is caused by inflammation of the lining of your airways. Asthma may be mild, moderate or severe and can happen anywhere and at any time. It is a chronic condition that may last into adult life. Severe asthma attacks may lead to death! It is very important to recognize symptoms, make the formal diagnosis and come up with a management plan.

How it happens: When your breathing tubes are exposed to irritants (environmental allergens, viruses, perfumes, exercise or cigarette smoke), the airways swell up, go into spasm and make extra mucus. This causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. A single attack of wheezing does not mean you have asthma, but several such episodes will confirm the diagnosis. Rarely, the doctor may order some breathing tests to confirm the diagnosis.

To prevent asthma attacks: Avoid allergens, irritants, smoke and take the controller medicines prescribed by your doctor. If your asthma is out of control, see your doctor.

Brief medicine review:
Controller medicines (Preventive) – Using these medicines daily can prevent asthma attacks. It is very important to use the controller medicines as directed as this will prevent acute attacks of Asthma. They may scar your airways and lead to chronic lung disease. They also prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

  • Inhaled Steroids (Flovent, Pulmicort, QVAR)
  • Leukotriene Antagonists (Singulair)
  • Combination long acting relievers with steroid (Advair and Symbicort)

If you are having an attack:
Relievers – These are meant for times of trouble and can save your life.

  • Albuterol, Proventil, Ventolin, Proair

Use them as directed in your Asthma Action Plan and make an appointment if they are not working. If your attack is severe, call 911!

It is very important for Asthmatics to get the Flu vaccine every year to prevent complications.
Asthma is a chronic condition that if managed right, will lead to quality life.

For more detailed information on Asthma, search at MedlinePlus or KidsHealth in our Resources for Parents section in this website.

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