What Is Involved in Acute Asthma Treatment?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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Acute asthma treatment usually involves the use of a fast-acting inhaler to open the person’s airways and reduce inflammation. A fast-acting inhaler is the best way to deliver the medication directly into the airway and surrounding tissues of the lungs and throat because the medication does not need to be absorbed by the blood before reaching the lungs and trachea. If an acute asthma attack is not treated immediately, serious complications or death could occur because of the lack of oxygen. There are a few different types of acute asthma treatment fast-acting inhalers, including corticosteroid inhalers and beta-2 agonist inhalers. Prevention is a major key to reducing the frequency and severity of asthma attacks, and a person should speak to a physician about the best way to prevent and handle an acute asthma attack.

Corticosteroid inhalers contain a steroid that helps to counteract the effects of an allergen that has been inhaled, and it works to reduce the inflammation of the airway of a person. This medication helps to reduce wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath associated with an asthma attack. A corticosteroid inhaler for acute asthma treatment is usually prescribed if a person also uses a beta-2 agonist inhaler on a fairly regular basis, and the inhaled version of steroids creates less side effects than a steroid taken orally.


Beta-2 agonist, also known as short acting beta agonist (SABA), inhalers are a type of bronchodilator that helps to relax the muscles of the throat. This type of acute asthma treatment works by stimulating the beta-2 receptors of the bronchial muscles, causing them to dilate for up to four hours. The medication can be taken prior to events, such as exercising, to prevent the onset of an attack or after the asthma attack has begun.

Prevention of a acute asthma attack is the best treatment option available, and there are many inhalants and oral medications that can help to stave off an attack. Long-acting beta-agonists can be taken on a regular basis, along with daily steroid inhalers. This type of medication can help to increase the effectiveness of the steroids, reducing the number of attacks and risks associated. The effects of the beta-2 agonist will last for 12 hours, but there are side effects associated with daily use of the medication. Some people experience an increased heart rate, anxiety, or headaches.

Many long term bronchodilators being produced are made with a combination of various different medications that help to prevent an acute asthma attack. This type of hybrid acute asthma treatment contains either beta-2 agonist, anticholinergics, or cromolyn sodium, and can also be combined with corticosteroids. These inhalers have the benefit of including a counter, which alerts the person as to the number of doses left in the inhaler. Long-term use of certain inhalers can cause side effects, but preventing a potentially life-threatening acute asthma attack is important for anyone at risk of having an asthma attack.


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