Asthma treatment

The goal of asthma treatment is to control the disease and prevent attacks. Asthma has to be cared for all the time, not just when symptoms are present. Specific treatments for asthma will be determined by your child’s provider based on his or her age, overall health, medical history, extent of the disease, expectations for the course of the disease, and family opinion and preference.

There are four parts to managing asthma:

  • Identify and minimize contact with asthma triggers
  • Understand and take medications as prescribed
  • Monitor asthma to recognize signs when it is getting worse
  • Know what to do when asthma gets worse

There are also four components of asthma treatment:

  • The use of objective measures of lung function-spirometry, peak flow expiratory rate, and pulse oximetry-to diagnose the severity of asthma and to monitor the course of treatment.
  • The use of medication therapy designed to reverse and prevent the airway swelling component of asthma as well as to treat the narrowing airway.
  • The use of environmental control measures to avoid or eliminate factors that cause or trigger asthma flare-ups.
  • Patient education that includes a partnership among the child, family members, and health care providers.

Good asthma control will:

  • Prevent chronic and troublesome symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath
  • Reduce your need for quick-relief medicines
  • Help you maintain good lung function
  • Let you maintain your normal activity levels and sleep through the night
  • Prevent asthma attacks that could result in your going to the emergency room or being admitted to the hospital for treatment

Asthma controlMedications

  • Bronchodilators=Quick-Relief --These medications are used to help open the narrowed airways and may relieve coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or difficulty in breathing. These are usually considered “rescue medications” for asthma attacks. These medications come in inhaled, pill form, or liquid form.
  • Anti-inflammatory=Controllers -- These medications help decrease the inflammation, narrowing, and mucus production that is happening in the airways.

Nebulizers/metered-dose inhalers/peak flow meters

  • Nebulizers -- A nebulizer turns a medicine into a mist that you can breathe deeply into your airways. Nebulizers are used when a person with asthma has trouble using a metered-dose inhaler. Learn how to use a nebulizer.
  • Metered-dose inhalers --A metered dose inhaler delivers medicine in mist form. It should always be used with a spacer/holding chamber. This makes it easier to inhale the medicine deeper into the lungs. If the spacer/holding chamber is not used, the medicine can be wasted on the sides of the mouth, tongue, and throat. If the medicine does not get deep into the lungs it will not work. 
  • Peak flow meters --A peak flow meter measures how well air moves in and out of your child’s lungs. Peak flow meters are not always used. Check with your provider if your child should be using a peak flow meter. Learn how to use a peak flow meter.