Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition, affects millions worldwide. While many manage their symptoms with standard treatments, those with severe asthma often struggle to find relief. If you or someone you know battles severe asthma, understanding advanced remedies can be life-changing. Here are five remedies you should be aware of:
- Asthma Action Plans: Asthma in children is a leading cause of missed school days, disrupted sleep, and limited activities. An asthma action plan, developed with a doctor, tracks symptoms and adjusts treatment. This written strategy helps reduce symptoms, ensuring day-to-day breathing is improved and flare-ups are minimized. Even severe asthma can be controlled with a proper plan.
- Long-term Control Medications: These are taken daily to control persistent asthma. They include:
- Inhaled corticosteroids: Anti-inflammatory drugs like fluticasone, budesonide, and beclomethasone.
- Leukotriene modifiers: Medications like montelukast and zafirlukast can be used alone or alongside inhaled corticosteroids.
- Combination inhalers: These contain an inhaled corticosteroid plus a long-acting beta agonist (LABA). Examples include fluticasone-salmeterol and budesonide-formoterol.
- Theophylline: A bronchodilator that opens the airways.
- Biologics: Medications like Nucala, an injectable given every four weeks, can help control severe asthma in children aged 6 and older.
- Quick-relief ‘rescue’ medications: These provide immediate relief from asthma symptoms. Albuterol is the most commonly used short-acting bronchodilator for asthma. If one frequently needs a quick-relief inhaler, it indicates the asthma isn’t under control, signaling a need for a change in treatment.
- Medication Delivery Devices: Most asthma medications are delivered through devices that allow direct inhalation into the lungs. Devices include:
- Metered dose inhaler: A common method, often used with a spacer to ensure the correct dose.
- Dry powder inhalers: Requires a deep, rapid inhalation to get the full dose.
- Nebulizer: Turns medications into a mist inhaled through a face mask. Ideal for young children who might struggle with other devices.
- Immunotherapy or Injectable Medication for Allergy-induced Asthma: Allergy-desensitization shots (immunotherapy) can help those with allergic asthma. After identifying asthma triggers through skin tests, patients receive injections containing small doses of those allergens. Over time, allergic reactions and asthma symptoms should diminish. Omalizumab (Xolair) is an injectable treatment beneficial for allergic asthma.
Conclusion: Severe asthma can be daunting, but with the right knowledge and medical guidance, it can be managed. Always consult with a healthcare professional about the best treatment options. Remember, the journey to easier breathing is a collaborative effort between you and your doctor.