Dr. Williams said individuals are then prescribed a course of treatment to help manage the disease as well as medication that can help when symptoms get worse. The severity of the asthma and how it is treated can vary from person to person; however, there are several things that are important to keep in mind.
Understand if you need it: Asthma is one of the most common reasons a person may need the use of an inhaler. The disease can look different in each person; however, symptoms usually include shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, wheezing and symptoms that worsen with a respiratory virus. If you experience any of these symptoms see your physician.
Get trained in how to use it: Newly diagnosed asthma patients or even those who have been diagnosed with a temporary illness should make sure they are properly trained in how to use an inhaler. Improper use will result in ineffective medication delivery.
“An inhaler can be pretty confusing to people when they are first prescribed it,” Dr. Williams said. “The biggest thing I would say is don’t leave the office until you understand how to use it.”
Get organized before you get started: Many individuals may be prescribed more than one inhaler at a time to manage their disease. For instance, a fast-acting, rescue inhaler may be prescribed along with one prescribed for chronic management. It's important to understand which one is used in what circumstance and not to get them confused. Dr. Williams recommends patients quickly go over each with their pharmacist before taking the medication home.
Be mindful of how often you use it: How often an inhaler is used is important, especially when talking about a rescue inhaler. Dr. Williams said patients who find they are using rescue inhalers more than three or four times a week or who wake up to use it may need to have the severity of their asthma assessed by their physician. The severity of asthma may dictate if multiple medications are needed to treat it.
For more information on inhalers or to find a Premier Physician Network provider near you, go online to www.premierhealthnet.com/provider.
Premier HealthNet is one of the largest groups of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, and urgent care practices in southwest Ohio. For more information, go online to www.premierhealthnet.com/news.