After learning of Brian's allergies, Teri removed Brian's wool blankets and stuffed animals from his room. She encased his box spring in a plastic zip-up bag and threw away curtains. She now cleans Venetian blinds and sheets, shakes out blankets once a week, and keeps Brian's room free of dust and clutter. Additionally, Teri remembers how much Brian sneezed while taking a bath, and although the bathroom wasn't filthy, she now cleans it frequently to keep it mold-free.
Teri has a good handle on Brian's environmental controls, but this isn't the only treatment for Brian's condition. Brian uses an inhaler as a preventative twice a day to ward off small wheezing attacks. "There are medications that control and prevent asthma from occurring, including steroidal inhalers," explains Dr. Sharma. "Both are very safe in asthmatic patients."
According to the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine (NJCIRM), most asthmatics benefit from medical preventative treatment because it reduces the inflammation of the airways and the possibility of chronic obstruction. It gives ongoing protection even if there are no apparent symptoms. Most of the medications used to prevent asthma attacks fall into two major groups: anti-inflammatory medications and bronchodilators.
Common Asthma Treatments
If your child has only occasional symptoms, a bronchodilator (inhaler), such as Ventolin or Proventil may be enough. A child whose symptoms occur more than three days a week will be prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication to prevent attacks. Cromolyn is a good preventative treatment. It is taken regularly, but isn't as fast-acting as a bronchodilator and has few side effects.
The most effective anti-inflammatory drugs for treating asthma are inhaled corticosteroids, such as Pulmicort Respules (which are specifically designed for children). Corticosteroids can help reduce and prevent inflammation of the airways and decrease airway hyperactivity, according to the NJCIRM. Inhaled steroids may also be prescribed. Additional drugs, such as theophylline or oral steroids, may be prescribed for the most severe asthmatic.