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“Summer Break” Doesn’t Apply to Asthma Medications

Asthma image

It’s summertime, and the living is easy. But it can be dangerous to apply that laid back attitude toward asthma treatment.

It is important to continue to take all asthma drugs as prescribed over the summer, even if you don’t have symptoms. It is the best way to avoid an asthma flare-up.

Studies have shown that people who reduce or stop taking their asthma medications during the summer months are at greater risk of serious asthma symptoms in the fall. This so-called “drug holiday” leads to a spike in hospitalizations and emergency department visits due to asthma, especially among children and young adults.

Managing Your Asthma
Long-acting medications (such as inhaled corticosteroids) are taken daily to reduce inflammation in the lungs, preventing asthma flare-ups. Even though you may feel fine, your lungs depend on the medication to control inflammation.

Short-acting medications (such as albuterol) should be used as prescribed only when immediate relief is needed. If you are using your rescue medication often, talk with your doctor to discuss other treatment options to help control your symptoms.

There are many triggers for asthma, and each person is different. Your doctor can help you develop a plan for avoiding asthma symptoms from triggers such as pollen, dust, pet dander, and other allergens; smoke; exercise; and medication.

Remember that asthma is a constant companion – don’t use a family vacation or summer camp as an excuse to stop taking medications.

 

Find additional information on asthma, including a medication guide, at www.aaaai.org.

Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, www.aaaai.org

This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, May/June 2009.