The most-prescribed rescue medications are quick-acting bronchodilators (usually given through an inhaler or a nebulizer), which loosen the tightened muscles around inflamed airways. The most common of these, beta2-agonists, are related to adrenaline and usually work within minutes to provide temporary relief of symptoms.
If a bronchodilator alone doesn't resolve a severe flare-up, other medications may be given by mouth or injection to help treat it.
If your child has been prescribed rescue medication, it's important to keep it on hand. That means at home, at the mall, at sports practice, and even on vacation.
Rescue medications, although an important part of asthma treatment, can be overused. Talk with your doctor about how often your child uses the rescue medication. If it's too often, the doctor also might prescribe a controller medicine, designed to prevent asthma flare-ups from happening.
Because airways can be inflamed even in between flare-ups, controller medications might be needed to prevent unexpected asthma flare-ups. Slower-acting controller medicines can take days to weeks to start working, but when they do, they prevent airway inflammation and keep the lungs from making too much mucus.
There are a variety of controller medications, but inhaled corticosteroids are most common. They're usually given through an inhaler or nebulizer. Despite their name, corticosteroids are not the same as performance-enhancing steroids used by athletes. They're a safe and proven form of treatment for asthma.
In fact, inhaled corticosteroids are the preferred long-term treatment for kids with frequent asthma symptoms. Research shows that they improve asthma control and their risk of causing long-term negative effects is minimal. (But corticosteroids that are swallowed in liquid or pill form can cause side effects if used daily over a long period of time.)
Long-acting bronchodilators also can be used as controller medications. These relax the muscles of the airways for up to 12 hours, but can't be used for quick relief of symptoms because they don't start to work immediately.
Even if your child takes controller medicine regularly, rescue medication will still be needed to handle flare-ups when they occur.
Your doctor will determine which type of medicine your child needs based on the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms. Be sure to report any concerns or changes in the symptoms to help your doctor select the best course of treatment. Both the type and dosage of medication needed are likely to change to continue giving your child the best quality of life and prevent flare-ups.
You're an important player in your child's asthma treatment. For example, you can track how well the medicine is working by using a peak flow meter. You also can record information in an asthma diary and ask your doctor to create an asthma action plan, if you don't already have one.
|American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.|
|American Lung Association The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association|
61 Broadway, 6th Floor
NY, NY 10006
|Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AAN-MA) Through education, advocacy, community outreach, and research, AAN-MA hopes to eliminate suffering and fatalities due to asthma and allergies. AAN-MA offers news, drug recall information, tips, and more for treating allergies and asthma. Call: (800) 878-4403|
|AIRNow A cross-agency U.S. government website, AIRNow provides useful air quality information, including daily Air Quality Index forecasts and details on conditions in more than 300 U.S. cities.|
|Asthma Diary Use this weekly diary to record your child's asthma symptoms, peak flows, the amount of medicine taken.|
|Asthma Action Plan When things are confusing, a plan really helps. Check out this asthma action plan, which you can print out and use to manage breathing trouble.|
|Broncodilatador Los broncodilatadores son medicamentos que suelen utilizar las personas asmáticas. Relajan los músculos que rodean las vías aéreas (los conductos que transportan el aire hacia el interior y el exterior de los pulmones) y permiten que éstas se ensanchen.|
|Asthma Action Plan Use this printable sheet to help reduce or prevent flare-ups and emergency department visits through day-to-day management of your child's asthma.|
|Definition: Controller Medications Many people with asthma need to take medication every day to control their asthma.|
|Definition: Rescue Medications Rescue medications are asthma medicines that work quickly.|
|Asthma Diary Use this weekly diary to keep a record of your asthma symptoms, peak flows, and the amount of medicine taken.|
|How Do Asthma Medicines Work? Two different types of medicines are used to treat asthma: rescue medications and controller medications. Read about their benefits - and differences.|
|What's the Difference Between a Nebulizer and an Inhaler? Inhalers and nebulizers are two different devices used to get rescue or controller medications directly into the lungs. Find out how they work by reading this article.|
|How Can I Deal With My Asthma? Asthma is more common these days than it used to be. The good news is it's also a lot easier to manage and control.|
|What's an Asthma Action Plan? If you have asthma, you'll want to have an asthma action plan. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Asthma Asthma is a condition that affects a person's airways, also known as breathing tubes. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Asthma Millions of teens in the United States have asthma, a lung condition that causes difficulty breathing. Here are the basics on symptoms, triggers, and treatments.|
|Asthma Center Asthma keeps more kids home from school than any other chronic illness. Learn how to help your child manage the condition, stay healthy, and stay in school.|
|Asthma Center Asthma means breathing problems. Find out what's going on in the lungs and how to stay healthy, if you have it.|
|Asthma Center Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma.|
|Handling an Asthma Flare-Up How can you prepare for an asthma flare-up? Find out in this article for kids.|
|Asthma Basics With the right asthma management plan, families can learn to control symptoms and asthma flare-ups more independently, allowing kids to do just about anything they want.|
|What's the Difference Between a Nebulizer and an Inhaler? Inhalers and nebulizers are two different devices used to get rescue or controller asthma medications directly into the lungs. Find out how they work.|
|What's the Difference Between a Nebulizer and an Inhaler? People use inhalers and nebulizers to get asthma medicine into their lungs. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|How Do Asthma Medicines Work? Kids who have asthma need to take medicine. But what kind of medicine do they take and what does it do? Let's find out.|
|What's an Asthma Flare-Up? A kid who has asthma might have an asthma attack (or flare-up). Find out more in this article for kids.|
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