Asthma is a chronic condition that can make breathing difficult. Although there is no cure for asthma, many people are able to control their asthma symptoms by taking a variety of medications. There are two general categories for these drugs:
• Rescue or quick-relief meds – These include asthma inhalers and other medications that can be taken when at the start of an asthma attack for quick relief. During an attack, the airways become inflamed and produce excess mucus. At the same time, the muscles around the airways can tighten which compresses the airway, making it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs. Fast-acting medications can quickly reduce inflammation to make breathing easier, but the result is temporary.
• Long-term controller meds
– These medications can help keep asthma under control to reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. In order to work effectively, they must be taken every day on a consistent schedule, even when you don’t have asthma symptoms.
One challenge many people with asthma face is remembering to take their controller meds on the regular schedule necessary to achieve the best control of their disease. Consider these tips to help you take your medications on time:
• Make it a habit - Think of something you do every day around the same time you need to take your meds, such as eating breakfast or brush your teeth and let that activity be a reminder to take you medications.
• Keep it handy – Make sure you take your medications with you when you leave home, even if you are planning to be home before you need to take them. That way you’ll still be able to take your meds on time even if you don’t make it home when you thought you would.
• Follow directions – Even if you are feeling good or if you think the medication isn’t helping, follow your health care provider’s instructions and take your medications on schedule. If you have questions or concerns be sure to talk to your doctor. Don’t make your own changes to your medication schedule.