You're on a new case. So what's your goal? To find out why you need your puffer (sometimes its called an "inhaler"). This one should be a snap for a top Asthma Agent like you!
You need your puffer for one simple reason: Your puffer allows you to get the medication (med-ick-kay-shun) you need to the places that you need it. And that's your airways. When you take a puff on your puffer, you're actually breathing in the stuff that helps to keep your airways from getting swollen.
That's why the puffer is the Asthma Agent's secret weapon: Your puffer lets you take control of your asthma so your asthma doesn't take control of you!
Most Asthma Agents use two different puffers:
- A reliever puffer (sometimes called your rescue puffer). Use this only when you feel your airways tighten and it is hard to breathe.
- A controller puffer (sometimes called your preventer puffer). This is usually taken every day to keep your airways from swelling.
These puffers work just how they sound: the reliever helps to relieve your asthma symptoms, so that when your asthma does act up, you can put a stop to it; and the controller puffer helps to control your asthma, so that hopefully your asthma doesn't act up at all.
Relieve your asthma
Your Asthma Agent file has already told you what symptoms are: symptoms are the clues that tell you that you have asthma. Symptoms are when you cough, wheeze, or get short of breath, or you get a tight feeling in your chest. They're not too much fun, are they? And sometimes they can be a little scary.
When you have asthma, you have to watch for these clues, because they're telling you that your asthma's getting worse...
And that's when you need to use your reliever medication!
When you notice that you're starting to have trouble breathing, you can take a puff from your reliever puffer to make yourself feel better fast. That's why an Asthma Agent always knows where his or her reliever is. After all, you won't always know when something's going to trigger your asthma.
Sometimes, though, you might know when your asthma will act up before it even happens! Like when you're about to do a lot of running around. When you're active, your body needs more air than when you're watching TV. But if your asthma is acting up, it makes it hard for you to get as much air as you need, so breathing can be tough. If being active causes you to have trouble breathing, your doctor might tell you to take your reliever medication even before you start stuff like running or biking. It's like stopping something before it even starts.
Your reliever puffer is usually blue, but it might be a different colour too. Click here to find out more about your puffer.
Your Asthma Agent file has already told you: what asthma is asthma is when your airways get swollen. Well, when you have asthma, your airways are always swollen a little bit. But the more your asthma is bothered by your triggers, the more swollen your airways get. And the more swollen the airways get, the more likely you are to feel symptoms, and the harder it is to breathe. So one thing leads to another, see?
But what if you could control how swollen your airways got in the first place? If you kept the swelling from getting worse, maybe then you would hardly even feel symptoms. That would be pretty cool, huh?
Well, that's what you use your controller medication for. Your controller puffer helps to keep your airways from getting swollen. To feel your best, you need to use your controller puffer every day. Even those days when you feel pretty good. Even those days when you feel great.
It's your controller medication that's helping you to feel so good. And when you forget to take your controller medication, that's when your asthma may get worse. And that's not what an Asthma Agent wants to do, is it?
Your controller puffer can be lots of different colours and shapes. Lots of times it's orange or brown. Sometimes, it might even be purple or green. You might have two controller medications to take every day. And sometimes you might have to take a pill to control your asthma. Click here to find out more about your puffer.