Did you know?
What is ASTHMA?
Asthma is a condition that affects the airways – the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.
If you have asthma, you have ‘sensitive’ airways that are inflamed and ready to react to things that can irritate them. This can include pollen, cold weather, stress and hormones. When the airways react they become narrower and more irritated.
This causes you to have asthma symptoms, where you find it harder to breathe.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
The usual symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in your chest
Asthma symptoms can come and go. Even when you or your child is well, the asthma is there in the background. There isn’t a cure for asthma. It’s a long-term condition. If it’s not treated properly, asthma can be serious and lead to a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
The good news, though, is that most people who get the right medicines and support can manage their asthma well and live a symptom-free life.
Lots of people are diagnosed with asthma when they’re children. For most, it’s a life-long condition.
Some children with asthma find symptoms disappear as they get older, but then return later in life. What’s reassuring is that most people can manage their asthma well and live a symptom-free life.
The aim of treatment is to manage your asthma so that:
- You get no daytime symptoms
- You get no night-time waking due to asthma
- You don’t need to use reliever inhalers
- You don’t have any asthma attacks
- Asthma doesn’t limit your daily life (including working and being active)
Preventer inhalers –
Most people with asthma are prescribed a preventer inhaler. They help prevent asthma symptoms and make it less likely that your airways will react to triggers, by reducing swelling and inflammation in the airways. There are several kinds of preventers.
DID YOU KNOW?
- You need to take your preventer inhaler every day (usually twice a day) even if you’re feeling well because the protective effect builds up over time and then needs to be topped up regularly.
Add-on therapies –
Some people with asthma might be prescribed extra treatments as well as their regular inhalers. These are known as ‘add-on treatments’ or ‘add-on therapies’.
Common ones include leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs), theophylline and long-acting bronchodilators.
DID YOU KNOW?
- If you’ve been prescribed a leukotriene receptor antagonist tablet (LTRA) it’s very important that you keep using your preventer inhaler as well.
- The tablet has not been prescribed instead of the inhaler, but to use alongside it as an ‘add-on’ treatment. Your preventer inhaler is anti-inflammatory and opens the airways.
- The tablet gives you extra help to deal with the inflammation
Reliever inhalers –
Everyone with asthma needs a reliever inhaler, this may be a blue inhaler or you may be instructed to your your preventer inhaler as a reliever.
They give you on-the-spot relief from asthma symptoms and asthma attacks, relaxing your airways very quickly.
Keep your reliever inhaler with you wherever you go and your spacer if you need one.
More information about Asthma can be found at:www.asthma.org.uk/advice/inhalers-medicines-treatments
To encourage optimum control of you or your child’s asthma, the respiratory team and partners at George Clare Surgery have agreed the following:
One inhaler per issue.
One month supply of oral medication per issue
This is in line with government advice, for your safety and to prevent stockpile and waste through expiration of unused inhalers.
DID YOU KNOW?
A typical PREVENTER inhaler has 200 doses.
At usual doses (1-2puffs twice a day ) this should last you 100 0R 50 day
A typical COMBINATION inhaler (e.g. Fostair, Symbicort) has 60- 120 doses.
At usual doses, one inhaler should last 30- 60 days
Some combination inhalers can also be used as a reliever. Please speak with your asthma nurse about this
There are a very few exceptions to this, for example where patients under directions from a respiratory consultant have been advised to use more than the usual dose. If you think this applies to you please arrange a telephone consultation to discuss this with a clinician
We have noticed an increasing amount of reliever medication (usually a blue inhaler) being requested.
The practice policy is for ONE inhaler per issue.
For your safety we will only agree to allow a maximum number of 3 issues every 12 months before we request a review of your condition.
Please do not routinely request a prescription for any inhaler or medication even if it’s on your repeat, unless you need to replace one- for example it is running out.
If someone orders your medication for you, please make sure they only request what you actually need
DID YOU KNOW?
A typical RELIEVER inhaler contain 200 doses.
If your Asthma is well controlled you should NOT regularly require your reliever inhaler.
If you require your reliever inhaler more than 3 times a week, this indicates that your asthma is poorly controlled. This can be life threatening and you should contact the surgery and ask to speak to an asthma nurse or clinician within 24 hours
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Our Policy is designed with your safety in mind
On behalf of the Respiratory team and Partners at George Clare Surgery
More information about Asthma can be found at: