Asthma is treated by multifaceted approach involving trigger avoidance, medication and possibly immunotherapy.
Identifying your triggers is the first step towards asthma prevention. Keeping a journal of symptoms may help identify patterns of episodes that will uncover triggers. In addition, there are allergy tests that can help identify a person’s allergen triggers. Once your triggers are identified, eliminating or reducing exposure to them will help prevent episodes.
The following tips may help prevent asthma attacks in certain individuals:
- Covering bedding with zippered plastic covers and/or washing them in hot water once a week
- Bath pets weekly
- If you have a caged animal, change the cage often, as urine can also trigger asthma
- Vacuum often
- Use a high efficiency air filter
- Make sure humidifiers and vaporizers are cleaned regularly
- Stay indoors when the pollen count is up, especially in the early morning
- Use air conditioning instead of opening windows
- Dust often and avoid ceiling and attic fan
- Avoid cigarette smoke including 3rd hand smoke that clings to clothing and hair
- Avoid harsh chemical and bleach
- Avoid strong perfumes and scented items
- Get flu vaccination every year in October
- Get pneumonia vaccine if recommended
- Wash your hands often and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes during cold and flu season
For patients with intermittent asthma, your physician may prescribe a bronchodilator spray or “rescue inhaler” for adults and older children or a nebulizer for small children and babies. This is a quick relief medication that relaxes the muscles of the airways allowing them to open up and air to flow more freely. It is extremely important that all asthmatics, regardless of classification, have this type of medication available.
For patients with persistent asthma, your asthma specialist may prescribe a long-term preventative or maintenance anti-inflammatory medication such as inhaled steroids or a newer class of drugs called leukotriene receptor antagonists ie Singulair that block the action of substances in the body that cause the symptoms of asthma and allergic rhinitis. These medications will not stop an attack once it has started so it is vitally important that these patients also have a bronchodilator available.
Immunotherapy can be used to reduce or eliminate asthma symptoms that are triggered by known allergens.
Asthma Treatment Plan
Despite careful prevention, asthma symptoms happen! It is important that each patient have an asthma treatment plan ready to prepare them to handle these symptoms when they occur.
Keep a copy on hand and also share the plan with your child’s caregivers and school personnel, so everyone is prepared in the event of an emergency.
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There is no cure for asthma; however many children will outgrow their asthma or have less severe symptoms as adults. People who develop asthma in adulthood tend to deal with it for the rest of their life.
Our asthma doctor and nurses are trained in state-of-the-art care for the treatment of allergies, asthma treatment and related clinical problems, call us today.