How to manage asthma

Asthma is very common long-term condition caused by inflammation of the airways –, according to Asthma UK, it affects over 5 million people in the UK, including over 1 million children diagnosed.

The airways in the lungs become highly sensitive in asthma, and tighten when an allergen such as pollen or animal fur irritates them. There are other potential triggers too, such as smoke, cold or polluted air, exercise, or infections. It can leave sufferers struggling to breathe, and can be very dangerous.

Although asthma isn’t curable, it can be managed successfully with medication and lifestyle changes for the majority of sufferers – and many children find the symptoms ease as they grow older, although they can sometimes recur in adulthood. It’s important to understand what each patient’s triggers are, so exposure can be minimised or avoided.

Once you’ve had an asthma diagnosis from your GP, Pharmacy2U can provide free, convenient delivery of your ongoing prescription medication for the condition. Often those with asthma will be prescribed a ‘preventer’ inhaler to be used twice daily to stop attacks happening, and also a blue ‘reliever’ inhaler for quick relief if an attack does strike; or a combination inhaler that does both jobs. If you know you’re going to be exposed to triggers,you can use an inhaler in advance to protect you.

Using your inhaler correctly is vital. It’s important to always breathe out fully before using your inhaler. When you do so, you create more space in your airways, ready for your next breath in. This means you can breathe in deeper and for longer when you inhale your asthma medicine. This increases the chances of the medication reaching the small airways deep inside your lungs, making it as effective as possible.

Being rigorous about using your preventer inhaler regularly can stop you having to reach for your reliever inhaler too much. If you are good about regularly using your preventer inhaler, but still find yourself reaching for your reliever each day, speak to your GP or pharmacist, as your inhaler technique should be checked, and your preventer inhaler may need to be reviewed.

The NHS website has lots of further information about asthma and how to manage it successfully:

The Asthma UK website also has plenty of resources to help asthma sufferers and their families, including a useful series of videos showing patients how to use their inhalers correctly for the maximum benefit:

Dr. Phelan By Dr. Phelan General Practitioner Published 07/05/2019