How is seasonal asthma treated?
Seasonal asthma does not have a cure, but there are asthma treatments available to control your symptoms. If you have seasonal asthma and your symptoms only bother you at a certain time in the year, you may be prescribed an inhaler or medication to use during the season your asthma symptoms are triggered only.
There are 2 types of inhalers that you can be prescribed to treat seasonal asthma: a reliever inhaler and a preventer inhaler. Both types have different options available. Your doctor will help you find the right inhaler for you based on your symptoms and medical history.
A reliever inhaler is prescribed to most people with seasonal asthma and helps relieve symptoms when they occur. It is usually effective within a few minutes. The bronchodilator medicines in a reliever inhaler relax the muscles in your lungs, making it easier to breathe. Relieve inhalers are normally blue.
A preventer inhaler can stop symptoms from happening by reducing the sensitivity and inflammation in your airways. You should use it every day, even when you have no symptoms. You may notice your symptoms improve within a few minutes of using it although you should use it for a long period of time to get the full effects.
There are different preventer and reliever inhalers available depending on your suitability and symptoms. You may also be given a combination inhaler such as Seretide, which acts as both a preventer and reliever inhaler.
There are several different medications that can be taken for seasonal asthma. You may be prescribed these in addition to your inhaler if you are still getting symptoms.
Medications to treat seasonal asthma include:
- theophylline, which opens your airways and is taken every day
- leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs), which reduce inflammation in your airways, such as montelukast
- steroid tablets, which can be taken as short courses when your asthma symptoms flare up
- antihistamines, which relieve allergy symptoms if your seasonal asthma is caused or made worse by an allergy
For those with severe asthma, injections every few weeks can control symptoms though this is rarely prescribed.
How effective are seasonal asthma treatments?
Seasonal asthma treatments are very effective when taken correctly. If you have a preventer inhaler, you must take it every day as prescribed to get the best effect. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can show you how to take your inhaler properly to ensure the medication reaches your lungs.
If your seasonal asthma treatments are not working, you should follow your asthma action plan and speak to your doctor. They can look at your asthma treatment plan which sets out when and how to take your inhalers and/or medication. Your doctor may suggest increasing your preventer therapy or adding an additional preventer therapy to control your symptoms.
How long do seasonal asthma treatments take to work?
Most seasonal asthma treatments work straight away, but treatments that are used to prevent symptoms work best when taken for at least 7 days. Once you take the treatment for a longer period of time, it can dampen down inflammation in your lungs and help control your symptoms.
Medications used to relieve symptoms as they happen usually take a few minutes to work.