What are the different types of asthma treatment?
There are a few different sorts of asthma medication. Long term treatments come as inhalers and tablets, reducing your risk of having an attack. There are also reliever treatments for when an attack comes on, which are usually inhalers. Injections and infusions are available if your asthma is more serious, but you’ll need to see a specialist for that.
Some people use a combination of reliever and preventer treatments, and some inhalers even do both at once. These are called combination inhalers.
What are the different types of asthma inhalers?
Preventer inhalers are usually brown in colour and are the main asthma treatment. They contain a low dose steroid called corticosteroids which keep inflammation and swelling in your airways under control. Because they stop swelling and inflammation from increasing in your airways, there’s less chance of you having a serious reaction to your asthma triggers.
It’s important to use this inhaler every day, even when you don’t have symptoms. Most people take their preventer inhaler twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Reliever inhalers are only used for quick relief when you get symptoms (or when you’re having an asthma attack). They’re fast acting and work quickly in the airways to relax the muscles, so that you can breathe more freely. Reliever inhalers tend to be blue in colour.
There are also combination inhalers, which contain two types of treatment: a corticosteroid preventer and a long-acting bronchodilator. The preventer restricts inflammation in your airways, whilst the long-acting bronchodilator medicine gives you relief on an ongoing basis from symptoms like tightness in the chest and feeling breathless.
You need to take your combination inhaler every day, even if you aren’t feeling unwell.
It’s important to note that a lot of combination inhalers won’t provide you with quick relief if your symptoms get worse, or if you have an asthma attack. So if you get symptoms, you should always have your reliever inhaler with you to tackle symptoms quickly. Because the medicine in combination inhalers is long acting rather than fast acting, it can’t treat symptoms that develop suddenly.
A clinician may recommend that you use a combination inhaler if your preventer inhaler isn’t keeping your asthma under control.
What are the best practices for asthma prevention?
As well as using the preventer inhaler daily, there are a few things you can do to stop an asthma flare-up from happening. Knowing the signs of asthma and what causes them is important as you can avoid many of the triggers that lead to an attack. These can include things you’re allergic to or even stress.
It may also be helpful to maintain the air quality in your work or home if pollution and allergens are a trigger for you.
A clinician will normally help you put together a personal action plan that can make it easier to stay on top of your asthma. This includes how to monitor the condition, what you should do if you have an asthma attack and information about your medicines.