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              ASTHMA

When to Seek Medical Care

If you think you or your child may have asthma , make an appointment with your health care provider. Some clues pointing to asthma include the following:

If you or your child has asthma, you should have an action plan worked out in advance with your health care provider. This plan should include instructions on what to do when an asthma attack occurs, when to call the health care provider, and when to go to a hospital emergency department.

  1. Take 2 puffs of an inhaled beta-agonist (a rescue medication), with 1 minute between puffs. If there is no relief, take an additional puff of inhaled beta-agonist every 5 minutes. If there is no response after 8 puffs, which is 40 minutes, your health care provider should be called.
  2. Your provider also should be called if you have an asthma attack when you are already taking oral or inhaled steroids or if your inhaler treatments are not lasting 4 hours.
  3. These are general guidelines only. If your provider recommends another plan for you, follow that plan.

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Although asthma is a reversible disease, and treatments are available, people can die from a severe asthma attack.

If you are having an asthma attack and have severe shortness of breath or are unable to reach your health care provider in a short period of time, you must go to the nearest hospital emergency department.

Note:Do not drive yourself to the hospital. Have a friend or family member drive

Current treatment regimens are designed to minimize discomfort, inconvenience, and the extent to which you have to limit your activities. If you follow your treatment plan closely, you should be able to avoid or reduce your visits to your health care provider or the emergency department.

Know your triggers and do what you can to avoid them.

  1. If you smoke , quit.
  2. Do not take cough medicine. These medicines do not help asthma and may cause unwanted side effects.
  3. Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can cause asthma to worsen in certain individuals. Thesemedications should not be taken without the advice of your health care provider.
  4. Do not use nonprescription inhalers. These contain very short-acting drugs that may not last long enough to relieve an asthma attack and may cause unwanted side effects.
  5. Take only the medications your health care provider has prescribed for your asthma. Take them as directed.
  6. Do not take any nonprescription preparations, herbs, or dietary supplements, even if they are completely "natural," without talking to your health care provider first. Some of these may have unwanted side effects or interfere with your medications.
  7. If the medication is not working, do not take more than you have been directed to take. Overusing asthma medications can be dangerous.
  8. Be prepared to go on to the next step of your action plan if necessary.

If you think your medication is not working, let your health care provider know right away.

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