Asthma Medications: Types and Care

With Asthma affecting nearly 26 million Americans every year, and several different types of chronic and acute asthma out there, the disease is an epidemic. Treatments for people who suffer with asthma are broad and varied, but many people rely on classic inhalers, bronchodilators, and nebulizers. These devices, often combined with oral medications, are excellent for both short-term relief of attacks and long-term control of the illness.

Steroids and Anti-Inflammatories

Among oral medications for asthma are steroids and anti-inflammatory medications. These are the most effective and important means of treating the illness. They reduce swelling, pain and obstructions in the airways and make airflow passages less likely to respond to triggers. Steroids in particular are often delivered through a classic asthma inhaler.

Cleaning Your Inhaler

It is important to keep your metered dose inhaler in good shape and clean it regularly. This will prevent blockages in the device due to medication build-up. When cleaning your inhaler:

  • Remove the mouthpiece from the canister. The canister should never be washed or immersed in water.
  • Run warm water from your sink tap through the mouthpiece for up to a minute.
  • Remove the mouthpiece from the tap and shake it out.
  • Allow to air dry overnight. Make sure it is completely dry before using again.
  • If you have to use the inhaler before it dries, shake it out well, and reassemble. Test spray the device several times away from the space to be sure it works properly.
  • Every week to two weeks you should also clean the spacer that holds the canister in place, with warm water and dish soap. The spacer also should be allowed to air dry.

The Nebulizer

Second to inhalers, asthma nebulizers are often prescribed. These are machines that include a mask or mouthpiece and are usually used for young children, seniors or those who otherwise have problems using an asthma inhaler.

The device converts the liquid medication to a mist, which is more easily inhaled, in order to penetrate the lungs. Using the nebulizer takes longer than an inhaler and requires more patience.

Cleaning the Nebulizer

Like an inhaler, nebulizers must be cleaned to remain in good repair and working order. After each use of the nebulizer, disassemble the mask and mouthpiece by removing both the mask, T-shaped cup part and tubing, and wash out the device as follows:

  • Wipe down the outside of the device. Never submerge the machine in water.
  • Rinse the mask or mouthpiece and T-shaped part with warm water. On a daily basis, use dish soap to thoroughly clean.
  • Shake it out and allow to air dry.
  • Weekly, soak the parts in a solution of white vinegar and water for a half-hour before rinsing out.

After cleaning, run your nebulizer for 30 seconds or so to make sure it is completely dry before storing in an airtight resealable plastic bag.

If you have asthma and are in need of an examination or a lifestyle treatment plan, we are ready to help. Give us a call today for a consultation!

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