Do I Really Need a Flu Shot? »

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The simple answer is YES.  Every year Public Service Announcements tell the nation to go and get a flu shot.  These announcements even tell specific populations (elderly, infants, children, pregnant women and those with asthma) to get a flu shot. The excuses are many for not getting one – “I never catch the flu,” “I might get sick from the flu shot” or “I will get flu shots after I get the flu”.  There are many strains of flu and though the flu shot may not keep you from getting some strains of the flu, it will help you combat the flu better as your immune system will be better prepared.

Those with asthma should be at the head of the line.  The flu, in addition to having asthma, is a very serious matter.  Even if you do not get the flu, being exposed to the flu virus can initiate an asthma attack.  There have been many times  a person has been admitted to the hospital with an asthma attack because a family member or coworker exposed them to the flu.  The person with asthma did not get the flu, but the exposure triggered an attack – severe enough to be hospitalized.

Consider the flu shot to be part of your Asthma Action Plan.  See your doctor and get the flu shot.  It could be the easiest part of your strategy to control your asthma.

 

Why are controllers important? »

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WHY ARE CONTROLLERS IMPORTANT?

The asthma attack was a scary event and the doctor has prescribed a bronchodilator and a controller for you to take.  The bronchodilator is for your quick relief as needed and the controller is to be taken daily.  You start out being very attentive to the instructions but then realize that the controller ‘makes no difference’ when you take it but you can tell the quick relief medication makes you feel better – so you no longer take the controller.  All goes well until the there is an asthma attack that is very scary and your quick reliever is not working like it had in the past, what is going on?

The short answer is you should have been taking your controller.

The bigger problem is that you did not have enough information to understand why you were prescribed two medications and what each one does.  Making decisions with little to no information does not offer options of best benefit.  So let’s start at the basics – what each medicine does and how it is in your benefit to use it.

Bronchodilators are designed to open up the airway quickly.  They work within 20 minutes and the relief should last four (4) hours or longer.  If you need the medication again before the four hours are up – take the reliever and call / see your doctor as soon as possible. Always refer to your Asthma Action Plan.

Controllers are medications that minimize the swelling and inflammation that is present in your airways.  You cannot feel the swelling or inflammation until it becomes significant, at which time the quick relief medication will do little (or nothing) to improve your breathing.

The controller is a low dose of steroids, much smaller of a dose than you get in the liquid or tablet form.  It is the safer way to take steroids because it goes directly to the swelling and inflammation in your airways and does not affect other organs like the oral steroids do.  You know the controller is working because you are using your quick relief inhaler less than two times a week for signs and symptoms.  If you are using it more than that, for signs and symptoms, then make your doctor aware of this information.

Honest conversations and understanding asthma are two ways for you to be in control of your asthma – not have asthma control you.

 

 

Welcome! »

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Welcome to the Article Page of the CAP-W website!

In these articles you will find announcements and updates from the CAP-W staff and advisory board, as well as CAP-W press releases and links to relevant articles about childhood asthma.

Visit often and please offer comments to contribute to the conversation and share your experiences. As always, please contact us at 904.202.5132 or email us if you have any questions.

CAPW is here to help you.

For more information, call us any weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 904.202.5132 or send us an email or get updates