Asthma: What To Expect

Asthma: What To Expect

William Berger (Allergist and Immunologist) gives expert video advice on: Can asthma be cured? and more...

How soon will I start to feel better after I take my asthma medication?

One of the reasons people use quick acting rescue beta agonise medications is they feel better right away as it opens up their airways. But that is not the long term solution to their asthma problem. It's the controller medication that actually treat the underlying cause of the problem, which is the inflammation. The hard thing for patients to understand is that controller medication is not going to make them feel good right away. They have to be on it for at least a week or two before they start getting the benefit. So, very often with patients we will give them a quick reliever medication initially, but then we will convert them over to a long acting controller medication such as an inhaled steroid, a long acting bronchial dilator or a lucitron modifier. Just like anything that's worth accomplishing you have to stay on it on a regular basis if you are to feel better.

Can asthma be cured?

The tendency to develop asthma, to have what we refer to as bronchospasm--tightening of the airways and inflammation of the airways are with you throughout your life. Certainly like any chronic condition your asthma can get better, or it can get worse. But I think it's a disservice to patients to say that your child will outgrow their asthma. They're not going to outgrow the asthma. The asthma may get better. Hence, they're only going to get better from their asthma with treatment. But asthma is not just going to completely go away.

What is "thrush"?

Thrush is a yeast infection caused by an organism called Manilia; it's a kind of fungus or mold. As a result of thrush, people have white patches, mainly in their throat. That type of problem is very often associated with people who have immune deficiencies, low immune response or are taking large amounts of antibiotics that get rid of their normal flora - the normal bacteria in their throat. Thrush can also occur in patients who are taking steroids, especially inhaled steroids. Manilia or thrush in the throat can be very irritating. Not only do you see white patches, but red inflammatory areas in the throat that can cause sore throats and difficulty swallowing. I always tell patients who are taking inhaled corticosteroids to rinse their throat so that the steroid doesn't stay in their throat and cause an overgrowth of this yeast. When patients have thrush, there are anti-fungal agents that we need to use. Very often these are throat lozenges or suspensions that they swish in their throat. Most cases of thrush can be avoided with proper hygiene after you use your inhaled corticosteroid.