There are some excellent treatments available to help you to control your asthma. The most effective way of taking most asthma treatments is to inhale the medicine so it gets straight into your lungs. There are many different inhalers available and it is important that you use an inhaler that you are comfortable with and can use properly. Your doctor or asthma nurse will advise you on the most appropriate inhaler for you and should show you how to use it correctly.
??There are two main types of asthma medicine which are equally important but do different things. They are called relievers and preventers.
Reliever inhalers are usually blue and you take them when you have symptoms (like wheeze or cough). They work quickly by relaxing the muscles surrounding the narrowed airways making it easier to breathe. Reliever inhalers are essential in treating asthma attacks. If you need to use your reliever inhaler 3-4 times a week, you should go back to your doctor or nurse and have your asthma reviewed so that you can keep it under control. If you continue to need a lot of reliever medicine over a long time there is a risk that it will become less effective in you and your asthma may worsen.
Preventer inhalers usually come in brown, red or orange. They work by controlling the swelling and inflammation in the airways, stopping them from being so sensitive and reducing the risk of severe attacks. The effect of preventer inhalers builds up over a period of time and they need to be taken every day, usually morning and evening, even when you are feeling well. Preventers contain a steroid medicine. It is important to understand that the steroids contained in preventer medicines are not the same as anabolic steroids used by athletes to improve their performance.
?There are other types of medicine that can be added to your reliever and preventer inhaler if needed, such as preventer tablets, long-acting relievers and combination inhalers (usually red and white or purple). For information about other medicines speak to your doctor or asthma nurse.[clear-line]
These videos about asthma and living with it were made by Asthma UK.
For more information on asthma, visit asthma.org.uk[clear-line]