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All About Asthma Medications
On September 23, 2009 @ 2:32 pm In
Asthma begins with inflammation: The lining of the airways – the breathing tubes leading into your child’s lungs – becomes swollen, inflamed and clogged with mucus and fluid.
The muscles surrounding the airways tighten and contract as they try to keep the passageways open. Inhaled allergens or irritants like secondhand smoke and air pollution act like sandpaper on the raw surfaces. Your child begins to cough and wheeze as he or she struggles to breathe. This is called bronchospasm.
You can prevent asthma symptoms by avoiding the allergens, irritants and infections that inflame and irritate the airways.
There is also a wide range of medications that prevent and treat inflammation and bronchospasm.
Inhaled medications go straight to the airways. There are three types of delivery devices:
There are three basic types of asthma medications: bronchodilators , anti-inflammatories  and leukotriene modifiers . Each asthma medication your child’s physician prescribes treats a different stage in the asthma process.
Long-acting (12-hour) bronchodilators
Anti-inflammatories treat inflammation — the quiet part of asthma that you cannot see or hear happening in your child’s airway. Just as daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste protects against dental cavities, anti-inflammatory medications protect against the damaging effects of asthma symptoms caused by airway inflammation.
After using an anti-inflammatory medication, your child won’t feel different and you won’t see any immediate changes. That’s because it takes time for airway swelling to subside and the mucus and excess fluid to clear out of the airways. These medications usually need to be taken every day – to prevent symptoms and attacks from occurring.
Anti-inflammatories are sometimes called “controllers,” but like “rescue” this is a misleading and incorrect term. Your asthma action plan will tell you exactly when and why to take your different medications. Learn the correct names and skip the slang shortcuts.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Leukotriene modifiers are oral medications (pills or liquid) that help stop allergens and irritants from increasing inflammation or irritating airways by interrupting one of the many complex immune processes that precede airway inflammation.
Article printed from Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics: http://www.aanma.org
URL to article: http://www.aanma.org/faqs/welcome-to-precious-breathers/medicationspre/
URLs in this post:
 Nebulizer:: http://www.aanma.org/pdf/Summer05-Nebulizer-Challenge.pdf
 Metered-dose inhaler: http://www.aanma.org/2009/03/mastering-hfa-inhalers-%e2%80%93-step-by-step-instructions
 valved holding chamber: http://www.aanma.org/pdf/AAT-Fall-07-Holding-Chamber-Challenge.pdf
 bronchodilators: #Bronchodilators
 anti-inflammatories: #Anti-inflammatories
 leukotriene modifiers: #Leukotriene modifiers
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