Treating asthma successfully is all about asthma education. The better you understand asthma and what you need to do to control it, the “happier” your breathing will be.
There are lots of big and small choices you’ll make every day which can impact your breathing. Choosing to do things that help keep your lungs stable rather than choosing things that might set off asthma symptoms is an important part of asthma control. Know what your triggers are helps you keep away from asthma flares. Knowing the difference between “maintenance” and “quick-acting” (also called “rescue”) medicines and why you use one instead of the other is also very important. Learning about your own set of “signs” that your asthma is in the early stages of acting up is another key issue to understand.
Whether you have asthma that requires daily maintenance medicine or “intermittent” asthma that only occasionally calls for quick-acting medication, understanding how you take the medicine is one other vitally important concept.
Most people with asthma know that asthma is often treated with medicines they breathe in and that there are two main ways to get that medicine into their lungs: nebulizers and inhalers. What some people don’t know, though, is that, if used correctly, either method works as well as the other no matter your age, even for very young children. Well, that’s true if you use a “spacer” with your inhaler.
That is a key concept that anyone with asthma should learn: if you use medicine that comes in an inhaler (also called a “puffer,” “metered-dose inhaler,” or “MDI”), you should always use a spacer. A spacer is basically a tube that holds the asthma medicine for a moment allowing you to breathe it into your lungs more effectively than you can just using the inhaler alone. There are lots of different types of spacers which can work. There’s even some evidence that homemade spacers work, too.
Nebulizers work well and, for some people and at some times, they may be a good choice. But, for most anyone, using an inhaler with a spacer can be just as good at getting the medicine where it needs to go. (That is one of the most important things the spacer does: it makes sure the medicine gets into your lungs where it is needed, not just the back of your throat where it doesn’t help.) Plus, an inhaler and a spacer doesn’t need electricity and is a lot easier to carry around!
Posted – August 21, 2012
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