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Patient and family information - asthma service


Patient and family information

What to expect from a clinic appointment

In clinic we ask questions about symptoms such as cough, wheeze and breathing problems and we might do some special tests. Sometimes allergy tests are helpful and, in children who are old enough, we might test lung function. If we think you need treatment for wheeze we will explain which medicines you need and how to take them.

Most asthma medications are either a preventer or a reliever:

Preventer (or maintenance) medications:

These control inflammation in the airways so that swelling and irritation in the airways doesn't affect your breathing or cause asthma symptoms such as wheeze, cough or feeling tight in the chest. Preventer medications are often inhalers but some are medicines are taken by mouth.

To get the full benefit from these medicines they need to be taken every day, even when well. It is important that inhalers are taken using the correct technique to make sure that the medicine reaches the lungs. Our team can help check that you are taking your medications in the best way.

Reliever medications: 

Most often this is a blue salbutamol inhaler. Relievers are used to ease breathing when symptoms such as having a tight chest or being breathless are troublesome.

Our team will help monitor how often these reliever medications are needed to control breakthrough symptoms and attacks and offer advice to prevent these from happening.

Maintenance and Reliever Therapy: 

We might recommend you have a combined inhaler that you can take as both a preventer and a reliever. Using a combined inhaler like this is called Maintenance and Reliever Therapy or MART. We will explain to you how and when to take your combined inhaler.

We give all patients a personalised asthma or wheeze action plan. This explains how and when to take each medicine or inhaler. Please contact us if you do not have one or need a new plan.