If you have been treated in a hospital emergency department, you will be discharged once you respond well to the treatment.
- You may be asked to see your primary-care provider or an asthma specialist (allergist) in the next day or
- If your symptoms return, or if you begin to feel worse, you should immediately contact your health-care provider or return to the emergency department.
Asthma is a long-term disease, but it can be managed. Your active involvement in treating this disease is vitally important.
- Take your prescribed medications as directed, both controller and rescue medications.
- See your health-care provider regularly according to the recommended schedule.
- Avoid any known triggers.
- If you smoke, quit.
- By following these steps, you can help minimize the frequency and severity of your asthma attacks.
Asthma is now treated in a step-wise approach.
- Intermittent asthma is treated with a rescue inhaler which is only used for symptoms.
- Persistent asthma requires the use of maintenance medication, usually initially an inhaled steroid, but other medications such as leukotriene inhibitors are also used. The more severe the asthmatic condition, the more maintenance medications are required, and therapy is "stepped up." These additional medications include the long-acting beta agonists, oral steroids, and in some cases, theophyllines or omalizumab.
- As asthma improves, decreasing the amount of medication (under a physician's guidance) and in some cases, stopping some of the medication may be indicated. This is referred to as "stepping down" therapy.
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