Asthma is a chronic condition that is marked by a narrowing of the person’s airways as a response to some type of trigger, which is different for everyone with asthma. It is a type of lung disease that can be life-threatening in severe cases without effective management. The more you are exposed to a trigger, the greater your response will be to it.
Symptoms of asthma include labored breathing, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness. If you are experiencing unusual breathing symptoms or you suspect that you have asthma, an allergist is the specialist to see to help prevent and manage your asthma attacks.
Prevention of an Asthma Attack
Asthma triggers vary from person to person, and an allergist can help identify your own triggers and give you strategies and possibly medications to help you avoid them. Common asthma triggers include:
- Chemical fumes
- Pet dander
- Cleaning products
- Colder weather
Even with an asthma action plan that includes an inhaler and medication, it is recommended that you minimize contact with the trigger.
Management of Asthma
If you are feeling an asthma attack coming on, do as your allergist directed. This is why it is important to have your medicine handy at all times – keep it in your purse or in your pocket.
Medicine that is used to manage asthma attacks is either inhaled or taken orally. A combination of quick-relief and long-acting medication is the most effective approach to managing asthma and preventing attacks: Quick-relief medication via an inhaler is what you take during an asthma attack, while long-acting medication is what you take on a regular basis to minimize the frequency and severity of attacks.
Using an Inhaler Properly
Generally, a patient with asthma will be provided an inhaler; but in order for it to work, the medicine has to reach your lungs. There is a proper way to use an inhaler to reap its benefits, and many asthma sufferers are not using their inhalers the right way. It is important to use the inhaler properly in order to avoid life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and respiratory failure.
- Hold the inhaler upright and shake it.
- Tilt your head back slightly.
- Close your lips fully around the mouthpiece.
- Inhale as you press on the inhaler. You may need to use both hands.
- Hold your breath for about 5 seconds.
- Breathe as slowly and as deeply as possible, preferably through your nose.
Immunotherapy to Suppress the Allergic Response
Another approach to minimizing the frequency and severity of asthma attacks is through immunotherapy. In this treatment, you are given injections of an increasing amount of an allergen that is known to be a trigger of your asthma attacks.
This is an effort to slowly change the way your body reacts to the trigger, by desensitizing your body. If you respond well to the immunotherapy, you will be able to enjoy less reliance on medications and less of a need to avoid allergens in the future.
Allergist in Oak Brook, Illinois
If you or your loved one is suffering from asthma symptoms or breathing problems, our team of board- certified allergists and immunology physicians at Oak Brook Allergists can help you get it under control. We will determine your triggers, and we will explain how you can avoid asthma attacks and treat them when they do happen.
To request an appointment with our physicians, call Oak Brook Allergists today at (630) 574-0460 or fill out our appointment request form now. We look forward to serving you in any of our locations in northeastern Illinois.