Barrington residents ask, “What asthma relief is available near me?”
While asthma is one of the most common childhood disorders, affecting more than 7 million children under age 18, it may also present itself for the first time even after a person’s 70th or 80th birthday.
The symptoms of asthma are generally the same, regardless of if the onset occurred at age 7 or 70. You may experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Whistling or wheezing when breathing out
What is different for older asthmatics is more medication may be needed to maintain normal breathing. There is also a greater chance of an older person developing respiratory failure during mild attacks. In fact, one study equated mild attacks in seniors to severe attacks in younger people.
Some of the individuals who experienced asthma at an older age may have had symptoms when they were younger that subsided; however, asthma emerging for the first time in the older set rarely goes into remission.
Asthma doesn’t age discriminate
Young and old alike experience asthma when airways narrow, swell, and make excess mucus, triggering breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, and coughing, and wheezing.
Substances that trigger allergies and irritants can cause symptoms of asthma, and may include airborne allergens (like pollen and pet dander), air pollutants (smoke), and certain foods (shrimp, dried fruit, beer, and wine). Asthma may be triggered by respiratory infections such as the common cold, as well as exercise, stress, and acid reflux.
You can prevent asthma attacks by avoiding triggers, but some triggers (like colds) can’t be avoided. In this case, there are two key types of medications to control your asthma:
- Long-term asthma control drugs – Taken daily, they can prevent attacks by reducing the inflammation that leads to your symptoms. Inhaled steroids (marketed under names like Flovent HFA and Aerobid), have a low risk of side effects, and are safe for ongoing use. Oral Leukotriene Modifiers (sold as Singulair and Zyflo) can relieve symptoms for up to 24 hours. Long-acting beta agonists, including Serevent, are inhaled, used in combination with the inhaled steroids above and open the airways. Combination inhalers contain both longer-acting beta agonists and corticosteroids, while Theophyline is a daily pill that relaxes and keeps the muscles around the airways open.
- Quick-relief medicines – These “rescue” drugs are used for short-term relief during an asthma attack or as a preventative before encountering a trigger, such as prior to physical activity in the case of exercise-induced asthma. Short-acting beta agonists relax airway muscles to ease symptoms, and they can be taken via hand-held inhalers or nebulizers that convert drugs into a fine mist inhaled through a mask. Some corticosteroids taken by mouth or intravenously can relieve airway inflammation caused by severe asthma.
If allergies are to blame, we may give you shots with tiny amounts of the allergen to build your immune system’s tolerance to the substance. Xolair is another injectable, designed for people with both severe asthma and allergies, while oral and nasal spray antihistamines, decongestants, and other allergy medications may help you find relief if asthma is brought on or worsened by allergens.
If you are asking, “What asthma treatment is available near me in Barrington?” visit the specialists at Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois, a short five- to six-mile drive northeast. Call our Lake Barrington office now at 847 888 8802.