Asthma is a chronic disease that can be deadly. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), characterizes asthma as the constriction, inflammation, and mucus secretion of the bronchi of the lungs. Asthma can be onset by several triggers. Some of the most common causes include stress, allergies, pet dander, and poor air-quality. Symptoms of an asthma attack include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and cyanosis in infants (blue skin discoloration).
Asthma, like most chronic illnesses, has a wide spectrum of severity. People with mild asthma normally only require the use of quick-relief asthma medications. The American Lung Association (ALA) explains that these medicines, called bronchodilators, work to open a person’s airway within minutes. The most commonly prescribed quick-relief medication for asthma is Albuterol. Albuterol is normally taken via an inhaler that is attached to an air chamber. This helps disperse the medicine evenly into one breath. It is of utmost importance that people with asthma always carry their quick relief medication, as the triggers for a bad asthma attack can be found in any place, at any moment.
The ALA also indicates that people who suffer from severe asthma have the option of receiving long-term asthma treatment. This treatment generally includes the administration of corticosteroids (steroids that help reduce inflammation) through a special kind of oral inhaler. This medicine is taken regularly, even without asthma attack symptoms, to prevent future attacks and decrease sensitivity to asthma triggers. Another long-term method that is specifically used to treat allergy-induced asthma is a seasonal allergy shot. The shots give recipients a better chance of having fewer asthma attacks triggered by allergies.
Asthma can be a very scary illness for people, especially young children. This is why it is important to be familiar with various triggers, as they can differ among individuals, and to try to avoid them. Most importantly, knowing where the medication of you or a loved one is located and being familiar with how it works, can save lives.
Feature Image Source: Michael Havens