The goals of treatment are:
- Control airway swelling
- Stay away from substances that trigger your symptoms
- Help you to be able to do normal activities without asthma symptoms
You and your doctor should work as a team to manage your asthma. Follow your doctor's instructions on taking medicines, eliminating asthma triggers, and monitoring symptoms.
MEDICINES FOR ASTHMA
There are two kinds of medicines for treating asthma:
- Control medicines to help prevent attacks
- Quick-relief (rescue) medicines for use during attacks
These are also called maintenance or control medicines. They are used to prevent symptoms in people with moderate to severe asthma. You must take them every day for them to work. Take them even when you feel OK.
Some long-term medicines are breathed in (inhaled), such as steroids and long-acting beta-agonists. Others are taken by mouth (orally). Your doctor will prescribe the right medicine for you.
These are also called rescue medicines. They are taken:
- For coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, or an asthma attack
- Just before exercising to help prevent asthma symptoms caused by exercise
Tell your doctor if you are using quick-relief medicines twice a week or more. Your asthma may not be under control and your doctor may need to change your dose of daily control drugs.
Quick-relief medicines include:
- Short-acting inhaled bronchodilators
- Oral corticosteroids for when you have an asthma attack that is not going away
A severe asthma attack requires a checkup by a doctor. You may also need a hospital stay. There, you will likely be given oxygen, breathing assistance, and medications given through a vein (IV).
ASTHMA CARE AT HOME
- Know the asthma symptoms to watch for.
- Know how to take your peak flow reading and what it means.
- Know which triggers make your asthma worse and what to do when this happens.
Asthma action plans are written documents for managing asthma. An asthma action plan should include:
- Instructions for taking asthma medicines when your condition is stable
- A list of asthma triggers and how to avoid them
- How to recognize when your asthma is getting worse, and when to call your doctor or nurse
A peak flow meter is a simple device to measure how quickly you can move air out of your lungs.
- It can help you see if an attack is coming, sometimes even before symptoms appear. Peak flow measurements help let you know when you need to take medicine or other action.
- Peak flow values of 50% - 80% of your best results are a sign of a moderate asthma attack. Numbers below 50% are a sign of a severe attack.