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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What can I do if I don't have a rescue inhaler?

Your question: I have a rescue inhaler which I keep with me at all times. However, I am completely paranoid that I might not have it with me during an asthma attack or that I have no puffs left. What do I do in this type of emergency? Somebody told me to drink caffeine and another told me to drink lots of water. What should I do if caught sans inhaler? Thank you!

My humble answer: Great question. In fact, this actually ties in perfectly with a post I've been planning to write. Back when I had less control of my life (pre-20), I had my inhaler go empty many times. Some I survived with ease, and other times didn't go so well. Caffeine is a mild bronchodilator, and may help take the edge off. Yet I didn't find it was too effective. Lots of water is "always" a good idea. It keeps your lungs hydrated so you can easily cough up excess phlegm. Diaphragmatic breathing is definitely a must. You have to breath properly. In the advent you're short of breath you have a tendency to breath paradoxically. With diaphragmatic breathing you'll also want to try pursed lip breathing if you are short of breath. With asthma you have air trapped in your lungs, so it's important to slow down the expiratory phase to let more air out. Whether you're short of breath or not, being without your inhaler can be stressful. Since STRESS in itself can trigger asthma, you'll want to try some relaxation exercises. Plus, bronchodilator anxiety alone (which is what you have) is enough in and of itself to cause stress. This explains why so many asthmatics are fine so long as they have their inhaler on hand, and feel "tight" as soon as they realize they don't have it.

Do NOT try over the counter asthma remedies. These are dangerous. Examples include Ephedra and primitine mist.

Another tip you might be able to benefit from is Ventolin is a generic medicine. And a prescription includes whatever the doctor writes. So if you have your doctor write for 3 Ventolin inhalers you should be able to get 3 for the price of one. I actually at one point got 6. Talk to your doctor about this. I do it, and always have a spare Ventolin (although I often lose all three at same time).

What I did not cover here is asthma control. Increased Ventolin use can be a sign of poorly controlled asthma and you should work with your doctor. I'll will "assume" this is something you've already considered and are doing. Some asthmatics simply "need" their rescue medicine more often.

These are just some random tips off the top of my head. I hope to expound on this soon. Let me know if you have any further questions. Rick



Becky Merrill said...

I came to this because I want to find an alternative to dr & drugs. All you said was basically go to a dr. No help at all.

john bottrell said...

The best proven means of getting asthma under control is by seeing a qualified asthma physician.