Bronchodilators are medications that relax the smooth muscles of the bronchi, helping air move in and out. They can be short acting, lasting 4-6 hrs, and long-acting, which last up to 12 hrs. They can be given as inhalers, such as salmeterol, albuterol, and ipratropium.
Mast cell stabilizers: Mast cells can release histamine which can cause bronchoconstriction. This can be prevented by mast cell stabilizers.
Corticosteroids: This group of drugs decrease inflammation and mucus production. They can be inhaled, oral or intravenously. Inhaled steroids may need to be used daily, depending on the severity of symptoms. Side effects include oral thrush, sore throat, and hoarseness. Oral steroids may be given in severe attacks. High dose side effects include weight gain, osteoporosis, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Leukotriene modifiers: Leukotrienes are substances released by the body in response to an allergic response. Leukotriene modiferes block this reaction. They are prescribed in asthma and in nasal allergy.
Exercise Induced asthma- Ways to prevent these attacks include using bronchodilators half an hour prior to exercise and having a person do warm up and cool down activies for 15 minutes prior to vigorous exercise and avoid exercising in cold weather.
- avoid cigarette smoke, wood burning stoves and fire places
- decrease dust in your living space by eliminating carpets, rugs, and pets
- do not use strong toxic chemicals for cleaning.
- Replace feather pillows with hypoallergenic pillows
- Prevent cockroach infestations
- Limit the time spent outside when pollen counts are high
- Avoid cold weather exposure
- Remember to get your flu shot!
When to see a doctor:
If the frequency of the attacks increase significantly, or maintenance medication is being used more than 6x/day, you should contact your health care provider.