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All About Asthma

We all know someone who suffers from asthma. It is a very common condition, affecting about 10% of adults and 15% of children in Australia.

We don’t really know why some people get asthma and others don’t. In people who suffer from asthma, the airways in their lungs are very sensitive to allergens and triggers and can tighten and swell in response to these causing an asthma attack or flare. In serious cases, these attacks can be life threatening.



When someone has an asthma attack, they can have the following symptoms:

  • Cough

  • Breathing difficulty

  • Wheezing

  • Chest tightness



Some attacks can be mild and managed easily at home with puffers, but some are more severe and need treatment at a hospital.  Without being exposed to a trigger, someone with asthma doesn’t have any trouble breathing however even a small trigger can lead to an attack. Common triggers include infection, allergens like dust and smoke, cigarette smoke, cold and sometimes even exercise!

 

Managing and preventing asthma attacks



Avoiding triggers is the first step in preventing asthma attacks. Avoiding cigarette smoke, and allergens like dust is a really great way to reduce the likelihood of an attack. If you’re a smoker and there’s an asthmatic living in your house, talk to your GP about quitting.

 

Preventer Medication



Sometimes avoiding all triggers (like cold, illness, and exercise) isn’t possible. This is where inhaler medications, also known as preventers, can be used to help prevent attacks. Preventers work by delivering medication to the lungs to help reduce inflammation, and tightness in the airways.  It’s important that this medication is taken every day, as directed by your doctor.

 

Some attacks can be mild and managed easily at home with puffers, but some are more severe and need treatment at a hospital.

Reliever Medication



Everyone who suffers from asthma attacks should have a blue reliever puffer. This puffer delivers very fast acting medication to help reduce airway tightness immediately if a flare up is happening. This should be delivered through a spacer to help the medications get to the lungs.

 

If someone is having an asthma attack, you can give asthma first aid using their blue reliever puffer.  Asthma Australia has a great guide for what you can do to help. If you’re not sure, call an ambulance on 000.

 



Find out more about how DOCTO may be able to help managing asthma  today.