Asthmatics know all to well the anxiety that accompanies the onset of an asthma attack. Acute symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness can spiral into a life-threatening asthma attack if prompt action is not taken. Inhalers have become, by far, the most popular medication delivery device to prevent asthma attacks or stop them in their tracks.
How Inhalers Work
As the name suggests, inhalers deliver inhaled medication to the lungs when they become enflamed. This medication quickly reduces this inflammation, thereby alleviating symptoms like wheezing and chest tightness. The two most common types of inhalers are the dry powderinhaler and the metered doseinhaler.
- Metered dose inhaler– By far the most common asthma medication delivery system, the metered dose inhaler mixes medication with aerosol for easier inhalation. This device requires a canister to be inserted into a holding chamber. Once needed, the cap on the mouthpiece is removed, and the mouthpiece is then placed between the teeth. A user pushes down on the canister and holds his or her breath to make sure the medication gets into the lungs. This delivery method is simple, reliable, and effective.
- Dry Powder inhaler– These inhalers deliver dry medicine via an enclosed capsule that is loaded into a canister. One drawback to this delivery method is that a patient must manually inhale the powder, which can be difficult during an asthma attack.
How the Medication Works
Several different medications can be delivered using inhalers. Short-acting bronchodilatorsprovide immediate relief during an asthma attack. The two most common medications, salbutamol and albuterol, reduce spasming in the lungs for up to 6 hours.
There are also long-acting bronchodilatorsdesigned to prevent the lungs from spasming in the first place. Salmeterol and formoterol bind to the muscle in the lungs, which can prevent spasms and reduce the amount of mucus present. These medications are inhaled along with steroids, preventing severe reactions.
Treat Your Asthma Today
If you or a loved one suffers from asthma—or you suspect so—contact Asthma and Allergy Associates in Colorado Springs, Pueblo or Cañon City today! There are effective methods, like inhalers, that can treat and prevent asthma attacks, allowing sufferers to enjoy normal activities. Our team of specialists can give you a definitive diagnosis and walk you through the best options for treating asthma.