According to the CDC, more than 25 million Americans have asthma, a chronic condition affecting the lungs. During an asthma attack, the airways get inflamed and its surrounding muscles contract, making it difficult to breathe. If left unaddressed, a severe asthma flare-up can be life-threatening.
Individuals with asthma, especially children, should know how to deal with asthma attacks. They must recognize its signs and learn how to respond accordingly. To be better prepared to handle asthma emergencies, here’s a guide on how you can deal with an asthma flare-up.
Have Inhalers Ready
If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, your doctor will likely prescribe an inhaler. Inhalers are small aerosol containers with mouthpieces and are also known as bronchodilators. Inhalers allow the medicine to go directly into the lungs and expand swollen airways during a flare-up.
There are two types of inhalers: rescue inhalers and control inhalers. The former provides quick relief from an asthma attack. If you feel the symptoms of an episode, bring out your rescue inhaler right away. You will be able to feel the effects of this inhaler within minutes.
On the other hand, control inhalers are maintenance medicine for slow-acting effects. They contain medication, usually steroids, that works more slowly. This asthma treatment won’t help during a flare-up — you use control inhalers at regular intervals, not during an emergency. Your doctor will prescribe control inhalers to reduce the frequency and severity of your asthma attacks over time.
Take Your Meds
In addition to inhalers, your doctor may recommend medications, like corticosteroids, as part of your asthma treatment plan. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that you may take in several ways:
Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking these medications, as excessive usage may cause harmful side effects.
Your doctor may also prescribe long-term medications, such as leukotriene modifiers. These are drugs that block leukotrienes, inflammatory chemicals produced by the body after encountering an allergen.
Long-acting beta-agonists are another type of anti-asthma medication. These drugs are usually taken with corticosteroids to keep the airways open.
Visit An Allergist
In some cases, an allergic reaction can cause an asthma attack. If you have allergic asthma, your body excessively reacts to an allergen, causing your airways to swell uncontrollably. This type is often associated with hay fever and eczema.
There are various triggers for allergic asthma, but the most common are:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Certain chemicals and smells
If you have allergic asthma, your body reacts excessively to an allergen, causing the airways to swell uncontrollably. This type of asthma is often associated with hay fever and eczema.
The first step in treating allergic asthma is determining your triggers, so you can devise a plan of action. After all, prevention is always better than having to cure. Your allergist may perform several tests to identify what is causing your allergic reaction. Depending on the results, they will recommend the appropriate treatment.
An option that your allergist may recommend is biologics, which are medications made from living organisms. Generally, doctors recommend this option to patients with severe asthma who do not respond to other therapies. Biologics block certain parts of an allergic pathway to reduce inflammation.
Your doctor may also recommend immunotherapy for allergic asthma. Immunotherapy involves exposing you to an allergen in small and controlled quantities. This therapy aims to change how your body reacts to these triggers and build up a tolerance. Over the long run, immunotherapy can reduce the severity of the symptoms and frequency of asthma attacks.
Asthma Treatment In Will County & DuPage County, IL
Asthma is a chronic disease that requires lifelong management. Some people may feel like they outgrew this illness, but there’s no telling when an asthma attack will strike. It’s best to work with an experienced provider who can craft an asthma action plan for you.
For comprehensive asthma treatment, visit Oak Brook Allergists. Our board-certified doctors can diagnose and treat allergic asthma. We perform allergy testing and pulmonary function testing as part of our initial assessment. Under our care, you can expect a customized care plan that takes your needs into careful consideration.
To schedule your asthma assessment, call us at (630) 574-0460 or fill out our online appointment request form. We have several locations throughout the DuPage and Will counties to serve you. We look forward to helping you find long-lasting asthma relief!