Be Prepared - Why You Should Carry an Inhaler in Case of an Emergency

Asthma is a chronic medical condition that causes the airways to become inflamed and constricted. When an asthma attack occurs, less air reaches the lungs, and it is difficult to breathe. With an extreme asthma attack, death can occur if treatment isn’t rendered quickly. Every year, approximately 5,000 people die from an asthma attack in the United States alone. There are many factors that can trigger an asthma attack, including allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 30 percent of asthma attacks are due to allergies. Allergens include pet dander, dust, cockroach droppings, pollen and foods, such as shellfish.

Even irritants like household spray, cigarette smoke and perfumes can trigger an attack. Other causes of asthma attack may include exercise, laughing hard, flu, sinus infection, cold air or dry wind. Since there are so many factors that can trigger an asthma attack, it’s best to be prepared with an inhaler on board wherever you go. An inhaler can help prevent and reduce the hallmark symptoms of an asthma attack like trouble breathing, chest tightness, wheezing and coughing.

Always have an Inhaler on Hand

In order to be able to handle and manage an unexpected asthma attack, always have an inhaler on hand. As a matter of fact, the inhaler should be as important as making sure you have your wallet and driver’s license with you whenever you leave the house. Having it with you at all times will help avoid an emergency visit to the hospital and possibly save your life.

Beta-agonist drugs are the most common in inhalers. This class of drugs includes albuterol, terbutaline, levalbuteral, pifbuteral and metaproterenol sulfate. These medications provide quick relief by relaxing the bronchial muscle in the lung, opening the airways and allowing more oxygen in with each breath. Whether from an allergen like a friend’s cat, spring pollen, a jog on a cold day or a dusty home, an inhaler is a life saver.

When using an inhaler, it’s important that it’s used correctly. Studies show that one out of four use an inhaler incorrectly. Some don’t squeeze it enough to get the full dosage, and others squirt it in the mouth and breathe through the nose. The correct way is to take a breath and squeeze the inhaler. Then, hold the breath for several moments. Spacers can help asthma sufferers get the right dose. These devices squeeze the medicine into a tube and have a one-way valve for breathing in the medication. It ensures that the medication goes directly to the lungs.


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