Asthma is a respiratory disease caused by certain triggers or allergens in the environment. The disease causes symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Since asthma can be life-threatening, individuals who have asthma usually take preventative medications and may have to use certain asthma supplies and equipment. Doctors and patients use different asthma supplies for the prevention and treatment of asthma symptoms depending on the severity of the symptoms.
Peak flow meters are one of the asthma supplies used to determine how much air a person is inhaling and exhaling from his or her lungs. Individuals take a deep breath of air, hold the small portable peak flow device up to their mouth and blow the air from their lungs into the device. The numbers on the peak flow meter measure the push of air into and out of the lungs so that the person can determine the severity of the asthma symptoms on any given day. When someone’s asthma is getting worse, the low numbers can alert the individual to take extra steps to control the asthma symptoms and possibly seek immediate medical attention.
Asthma inhalers, also known as rescue inhalers, are one of the very important supplies used to prevent asthma attacks. Inhalers are small and easy to carry so they can be used to immediately treat any asthma symptoms in any location. Doctors typically prescribe two different types of inhalers: metered dose inhalers and dry powder inhalers. The metered dose inhalers are usually small aerosol containers that the person puts in their mouth to spray and inhale the medication on an as-needed basis. The dry powder dose normally comes in small blister packs placed in a round container which are inhaled one dose at a time.
Doctors also use nebulizer machines to treat asthma symptoms and to administer large amounts of albuterol or other asthma medication. The doctor or nurse places the asthma medication in a small cup in the nebulizer machine, which converts it into a mist that runs through the tube to the patient’s mouthpiece. Medical staff use nebulizer machines in the office and prescribe these for the patient’s home asthma supplies.
Patients who have asthma should always keep their asthma supplies clean and free of dust and germs. Asthma equipment should be checked at least once a month to ensure it works properly. Patients should see their doctor for regular office visits and stay on an asthma management plan.