Earlier asthma treatment was limited, though things are changed now. Today, rescue inhalers, which are able to control asthma symptoms, are available in the market. When severe coughing and wheezing affect a person, s/he needs urgent inhalation therapy using rescue inhalers, also known as reliever inhalers.
These inhalers are used to alleviate the asthmatic symptoms quickly, so they ease patients in easier breathing by dilating the bronchi. Therefore, they are named as rescue medications or inhalers due to their quick and life saving action.
Rescue inhalers are emergency medicines, so asthmatic patients should always keep the prescribed rescue inhaler with them. It is the first thing that should be in your reach. Many patients keep their prescribed inhaler in their pocket, so when they get any emergency, they can use it to get relief from wheezing, coughing and tightness of the chest.
How does a reliever inhaler work?
Reliever (rescue) inhaler is a crucial part of asthma management. It is the first thing, which you need when you are in an emergency. Rescue inhalers contain fast acting beta-agonist, which is a drug that acts for a short period.
Rescue inhalers relax the bronchial muscle of the lungs and a person starts breathing normally again. It gives a quick relief to the patient suffering from wheezing, chest tightness and coughing.
You can use the inhaler anytime, no matter if you are wheezing, because of pets, a dusty house, summer pollen or bad weather. Albuterol is an often used beta-agonist, though some other drugs used in inhalers are levalbuterol, pirbuterol, metaproterenol sulfate and terbutaline.
How many times should I use rescue inhalers?
About 40% of asthma patients use a rescue inhaler incorrectly. Therefore, it becomes essential to know how many times you can use reliever inhalers in a day. According to medical experts, rescue inhalers can be used 3 to 6 times in a day depending on the severity of the symptoms.
Often they are used during acute condition or attack, and if you are taking them frequently, you should talk with your doctor. You may require preventer inhalers to prevent asthma attacks.
- Use rescue inhaler as per your prescription.
- Your doctor may ask you to use a rescue inhaler only in an emergency.
- Correct use of inhalers can be justified if your asthma is under control.
- If you feel that you are using rescue inhaler more frequently than usual, call your doctor.
- You should use one rescue inhaler at a time instead of two or more. If you need more, ask your doctor about the use of inhalers.
Habitual use of rescue inhalers
There is a great possibility of habitual use of rescue inhalers even when you do not need them. There are some signs of habitual use of such inhalers:
- You may need only 2 puffs, but you take more than 2.
- You may not wait for the next 5 minutes for the next puffs.
- You may have anxiety for asthma attacks, to avoid them you are using inhalers more times than prescribed. You may use a rescue inhaler as a stress reliever for asthma even when you do not require doing so.
- You may use an inhaler when you do not need that.
However, all points discussed above are only for informational purposes. If you are feeling you are facing the same issues, talk to your doctor. Your doctor is the best adviser for your asthma and its prevention.
Common side effects of rescue inhalers
Rescue inhalers are important medications used in the treatment of asthma, but there is a possibility of their overuse. Talk to your health care practitioner about how often you need the rescue medication.
However, these medications are short acting, so if you get asthma attacks frequently, you may need controller medications, which can be used for longer period. Preventer or controller medications are designed for prevention of asthma flare-ups.
The general side effects that can occur during the use of rescue inhalers by asthma sufferers are given below:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart beats
- Sore throat
- Runny nose