All asthma patients who need to take medicine every day must have an asthma action plan. This plan is based on peak flow values that represent you/your child’s best lung function. Your doctor will explain “zones” that describe when breathing is:
1. In the Green zone, you/your child should take his/her daily medicine.
2. In the Yellow zone, use a fast-acting inhaled bronchodilator. You can add to this treatment by increasing or starting inhaled corticosteroid medicine also during the Yellow zone.
3. In the Red zone, your/your child should use a fast-acting bronchodilator and an oral corticosteroid medicine. Call the doctor right away or go to the nearest hospital if severe symptoms continue.
Review this sample Asthma Action Plan for more information.
A peak flow meter is a tool used to check asthma. It measures how freely air moves in and out of the lungs. When you are having asthma symptoms, the peak flow values will fall. Sometimes the peak flow values will fall many days before symptoms begin. By measuring peak flow daily, you can predict problems and start treatment before symptoms start. The peak flow meter is also helpful for both you /your child’s doctor to determine:
Asthma medicines can be either inhaled or taken orally. Talk to your s doctor about the types of medicine you/your child can take. Some asthma medicines can be taken together. Some inhalers combine two different medicines which decrease treatment times and the number of inhalers needed.
An injection of asthma medicine, called Xolair, works by stopping the allergic reaction that often causes the airways to tighten. Xolair controls moderate to severe asthma and is injected every 2 to 4 weeks. Successful treatment should allow patients to live an active and normal life. Call your doctor for advice about this and all asthma medicines.
Primatene Mist and Bronkaid are the most common over-the-counter asthma medicines. Both offer short-term relief (20 to 30 minutes) but do not control asthma symptoms or prevent asthma attacks. By not having the right anti-inflammatory medicine, people do not treat the main disease and delay getting the right treatment. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, or heart disease should not take Primatene Mist or Bronkaid.
Allergies are known as a common cause for asthma in 80% of children and 50% of adults. Trying to control allergen exposure and reduce allergy sensitivity are important parts of asthma management. Research has suggested that when adults/children with allergies receive allergy shots, their allergy symptoms improve. Children are also less likely to develop asthma. Speak to your doctor to find out if you/your child can get allergy shots.
Allergy injections have been given for more than 75 years with effectiveness. Allergy drops (immunotherapy) in the mouth, with the same contents as allergy shots, are now being used by some doctors to help individuals with allergy and asthma. These have been approved in December, 2013 by the Food and Drug Administration.
Most people with asthma need to take medicine every day. This depends on the severity of the asthma and how often he/she has symptoms. For example, if asthma symptoms occur only during one season (i.e. spring) of the year, then medicines may only need to be taken during that time.
It is important to learn all you can about asthma medicines to help control asthma. Here are some general guidelines: