What is the difference between a reliever medication and a preventer medication?
#Asthma is a condition of airway narrowing – the airways become red and swollen and can produce extra mucus.
During an asthma flare-up, the muscles around your airways tighten which further restricts airflow.
Reliever medication (such as Ventolin or Asmol) acts quickly to relax the muscles around your airway during an asthma flare-up, but it does not treat the symptoms of inflammation.
Reliever medication usually comes in a blue or grey puffer.
Preventer medication works slowly to reduce the underlying inflammation and mucus production. When taken regularly it reduces airway inflammation and makes your airways less sensitive.
Preventer medication should be taken every day as prescribed by your doctor, even when you are feeling well.
Make sure you get an up-to-date written Asthma Action Plan from your doctor to help you manage our asthma and know how to react when your symptoms get worse.
Use a spacer
Spacers are for both adults and children. Children always need to use a spacer for all medications that come in a puffer. Adults should always use a spacer with preventer medication in a puffer and with reliever medication whenever possible. Using a spacer with a puffer gets more medicine into the lungs and makes it easier to take.
Check your puffer contains medication
Some puffers have counters letting you know how many puffs are left, but reliever puffers and some preventers do not. To test if your inhaler is empty, shake it and spray it into the air. You should see a cloud of medication spray out. Always make sure you have extra reliever puffers and a spare preventer on hand.
Shake your puffer
Shake the puffer vigorously before inhaling and between each dose. If you need to take more than one dose of a puffer, shake the puffer again and repeat the process.
Completely empty your lungs
Try to breathe out completely to empty your lungs before taking a puff of medication through your spacer. Emptying your lungs of air allows you to inhale as much medication as possible. Young children using the four breath technique will not be able to do this.
One puff at a time
Your spacer is designed to hold only one puff at a time. If you need to take more than one dose, shake the puffer again and then fire one puff into the spacer.
Keep your tongue and teeth out of the way
Put the spacer into your mouth above your tongue and between your teeth and form a lip seal. Young children may use a face mask with a spacer.