Because there is no cure for asthma, the best course of action for someone with the problem is to find a good asthma treatment plan. This plan should involve prevention and long term control of asthma attacks that cause coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Many things can trigger an asthma attack, such as airborne allergens, food allergies or preservatives, colds, stress, medications, physical activity, even a woman’s menstrual cycle or cold air. Therefore, an asthma treatment plan should include learning what causes or triggers an attack and taking the steps to avoid them.
Start by taking a peak flow meter reading with your physician’s supervision. This is a small device which you breathe into and it measures airflow and the ability to breathe out. This will help both you and the doctor develop an asthma treatment plan. There are several types of medications for the treatment and long-term control of asthma that should be part of any asthma treatment plan. Immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots, will gradually reduce reactions to allergens. A medication called Xolair, or omalizumab, is given to allergic asthma sufferers by injection every several weeks. Allergy medications can include antihistamines, nasal sprays and decongestants, including corticosteroids.
Quick relief inhalers, or bronchodilators, are available to quickly reduce swollen airways during a flare up. However, long term control medications will prevent inflammation that can lead to symptoms and are recommended for a proper asthma treatment plan. These are inhaled corticosteroids with a lower risk of side effects than oral corticosteroids and safer for long term use. The inhaled corticosteroids are used in tandem with oral medications like leukotriene modifiers that are taken daily and can help prevent symptoms for twenty-four hours. Sometimes s long-acting beta agonist or LABA is given in combination with the inhaled corticosteroid or there are combination inhalers with a LABA and a corticosteroid available. Daily medications like theophylline, which relaxes the airway muscles and make breathing easier, are sometimes prescribed. The quick relief inhalers that are recommended as part of a good asthma treatment plan will ease symptoms immediately but should not be needed often, unless the long-term control medications are not doing their job. As part of an asthma treatment plan, a patient should keep a record of how many puffs are needed each week, if at all, in order to give the doctor a report. The doctor may have to adjust the long-term control medications if necessary.
While it is most important to avoid the triggers of asthma attacks, a patient can include other things in a good asthma treatment plan that will help maintain good health and avoid symptoms. Air conditioning helps avoid pollen and dust mites. Use a dehumidifier. Reduce carpeting that helps remove dust. Keep appliance filters clean. Avoid or reduce pet dander. Wear a mask while dusting or cleaning and, if it’s cold outside, cover your face when you go out. Also, several home remedies have been suggested for the relief of asthma symptoms which may prove useful on any asthma treatment plan. Inhale steam from boiling water mixed with caraway seeds which can help open the airways. Try Yoga exercises which can relieve stress that may cause asthma symptoms. And always remember to keep the quick-relief asthma inhaler where you can easily find it.