Inhaled bronchodilators are prescription medicines that open airways in the event of an asthma attack. If you or a loved one have an asthma inhaler, you should know the correct way to use it to maximize its effectiveness and improve pulmonary function as quickly as possible when the need arises.
What Is a Rescue Inhaler?
A rescue inhaler delivers aerosolized prescription medicine through a plastic mouthpiece. As the medicine enters the lungs, it helps relax the smooth musculature of the airway, opening it for freer passage of air.
Most rescue inhalers contain what doctors call short-acting medications, such as albuterol. Albuterol works quickly–within minutes–and typically produces symptom relief that lasts for four to six hours.
Long-acting inhalers are also important tools in the asthma patient’s management strategy. Usually, they contain both a bronchodilator and a small amount of an anti-inflammatory agent, such as a corticosteroid, to manage airway constriction continuously. Asthma sufferers use inhalers as maintenance medication to avoid and control flare-ups.
In general, people whose asthma is well-managed use their rescue inhalers infrequently. In fact, if you need your rescue medication more than twice a week, you should speak with your asthma and allergy specialist for a review of your symptoms and possible change in your treatment plan.
When Should I Use My Rescue Inhaler?
Use your rescue inhaler for sudden, severe asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, constant coughing, and loud wheezing. Be sure to remain calm, take slow and regular breaths, and sit upright. Then, inhale up to 10 puffs one minute apart each, or as your doctor or pharmacist has instructed.
You should feel symptom relief within 10 to 15 minutes. If you do not, or if your symptoms worsen, get to the nearest urgent care center or hospital emergency room for more advanced care.
What Is The Right Way to Use My Inhaler?
It’s a simple process. Close your teeth and lips around the inhaler mouthpiece, and as you press down to dispense the aerosolized medication, breath in as deeply as you can. Hold your breath for several seconds and slowly exhale. Then, repeat after one minute.
If you use a plastic tube called a spacer, dispense the medication into the spacer and inhale as slowly and deeply as you can. Spacers are particularly helpful for children who may have trouble coordinating their breaths with inhalers. Using a spacer ensures they receive all the medicine dispensed.
Asthma Attack Treatment in DuPage And Will Counties
At Oak Brook Allergists, our three board-certified physicians understand the urgency of sudden asthma attacks. Our physicians treat people of all ages who suffer a wide range of asthma types. They ensure patients understand asthma symptoms and how and when to use their rescue inhalers and maintenance medications.
If you have questions about asthma treatment, please contact us, and we will fill you in on the important details of inhaler use, avoidance of asthma triggers, and what to do when symptoms don’t respond to at-home care. We look forward to helping improve your lung function and overall health.
Please call us at (630) 574-0460, or request your appointment online. We have four convenient offices to serve your asthma and allergy needs: Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, and Plainfield, Illinois.