Do You Need an Inhaler? How to Tell, and What Type You Might Need

Posted by Prescription Hope - See Editorial Guidelines (Last Updated On: Fri Apr 28 2023)

Many of us see or come across people using inhalers for several reasons, and we’re all familiar with asthma as a common health condition for which many people use inhalers. If you observe a person using an inhaler, you’ll possibly notice it’s because they’re having difficulty breathing. Using an inhaler helps individuals obtain quick relief from breathing problems.

There are times where we can all feel short of breath, find difficulty in breathing, and so on. So, does that mean we also need an inhaler?

This article will provide a walkthrough to answer the question – do you need an inhaler? How to decide if you do need an inhaler, the types of inhalers that are available, and much more.

But first, here’s the quick reference answer to get you some much-needed info, then we’ll get into more of the details around the topic.

Do You Need An Inhaler? Not all asthma symptoms require an inhaler as there is a risk it can cause psychological dependence. The following are some severe asthma signs that may need the use of an inhaler-

  • Frequent bothersome asthma symptoms
  • Breathing complications, making it difficult to sleep
  • Asthma symptoms that cause frequent doctor visits

But how do you know if you need an inhaler or not? What signs should you be looking out for? Let’s explore this aspect further.

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How to Know If You Need an Inhaler

Do You Need an Inhaler

Since inhalers are prescribed for asthma, it’s important to get a background on what this health condition is.

Asthma is a respiratory condition in which a patient’s airways narrow and swell while producing extra mucus. The airways narrow for a number of reasons, for which the most common is the inflammation of the airways.

These effects of asthma cause breathing difficulties, trigger coughs, and produce a wheezing sound or sensation.

Sadly, asthma is not a medical condition that can be cured. For patients going through asthma, most treatment plans focus on keeping asthmatic symptoms under control.

Not all people go through severe asthmatic conditions. For some, asthma may be no more than a minor nuisance, whereas, for some, it can be a severe health condition that could potentially lead to life-threatening asthma attacks.

To understand if you’re developing an asthma condition that might require you to need an inhaler, it’s essential to look for signs and symptoms of asthma.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Asthma

Do You Need an Inhaler
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing when breathing – this can be a common sign of asthma in children
  • Difficulties in sleeping, due to shortness of breath, coughing, and/or wheezing.
  • Coughing or wheezing exacerbated by other respiratory viruses such as a cold or flu

These are some initial “starting” symptoms of asthma. Depending on the intensity of the symptoms one healthcare provider will decide if one needs an inhaler.

Usually, at this initial stage, oral tablets or other remedies are prescribed in place of an inhaler.

There are other symptoms of asthma, which show a more severe or intense level of health condition, which may require you to use an inhaler. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Symptoms that are more frequent, irritable, and hard to control. This includes asthma episodes that disturb a normal routine.
  • Increasing difficulty in breathing. This can be checked using a peak flow meter to see how well your lungs are working.
  • Breathing complications that can disturb sleep and cause frequent visits to the doctor

When these symptoms are identified, you may need to use an inhaler. This is because these symptoms are more intense and may lead to life-threatening asthma attacks if left untreated.

However, it’s essential to get a doctor’s consent before making this decision and consult with relevant practitioners before pursuing a request for an inhaler.

Inhalers are more suitable to be used in conditions where a person’s daily life is impacted by a series of asthma symptoms rather than mild irritations.

Inhalers are recommended more for severe symptoms, as they directly target the airways when inhaled, providing quick relief from symptoms. This helps in preventing serious asthma attacks or episodes.

The reason why doctors don’t prescribe inhalers for rare or one-off asthma symptoms is that it can cause psychological dependence. Otherwise, people will opt for inhalers as a handy solution rather than making lifestyle changes and better health choices.

So, after assessing these symptoms, if you conclude that an inhaler is needed, there are few things to consider. Depending on the condition of your asthma severity, age, and lifestyle, different types of inhalers are available.

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Type of Inhaler You Might Need

There are two main types of inhalers, namely, rescue inhalers and controller/preventer inhalers.

These two inhalers serve different purposes when it comes to asthma. Below is a more precise explanation of each of them.

Rescue Inhalers

As the word suggests, rescue inhalers are for rescuing a patient against the onset of asthma attacks. This is the type of inhaler you should always carry and should save you from severe asthma symptoms with quick relief.

Do You Need an Inhaler

According to several medical experts, if you use a rescue inhaler more than three times a week, it potentially means your asthma conditions are not well managed.

At this point, it’s important to talk to your doctor who will review your medication and discuss ways you can reduce exposure to asthma triggers.

Examples of rescue inhalers include:

Preventer/Controller Inhalers

Preventer/controller inhalers are used for preventing or controlling asthma symptoms. This is an inhaler that’s used daily, to keep asthma symptoms constantly under control.

With a dose of two times a day, the medication builds up in the system, helping to reduce triggers, sensitivity, and inflammation symptoms that cause asthma. A preventer inhaler needs to be used regularly, even if you’re feeling well.

It’s also important to remember that a preventer inhaler should not be used during an asthma attack. This is because the active ingredient in this inhaler will not act fast enough to stop a person from having an asthma attack.

Some examples of preventer/controller inhalers are:

Combination Inhaler Colors

These inhalers come in a variety of colors, such as yellow, purple, gray, pink, or red.

As the name indicates, combination inhalers act as a rescue and preventer inhaler. Meaning, it can be used for relieving symptoms immediately and for administering the long-term treatment of asthma.

This inhaler is usually prescribed for patients who find it difficult – or complicated to control asthma symptoms. Sometimes, even if a combination inhaler has relieving properties, your doctor may prescribe another rescue inhaler, depending on the intensity of your asthma.

As such, depending on what your inhaler needs are, along with the asthma conditions you’re experiencing, your doctor will prescribe the most suitable inhaler to deal with your symptoms.

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We hope this has provided you with a good starting point to the question, do you need an inhaler? This can help you make an initial assessment. From here, you can decide if you need to consult your doctor for further advice.

When it comes to saving money, there are drug coupons and patient assistance programs that can help you get your inhaler or other medication at a discounted cost.

This how Prescription Hope has helped thousands of people that are suffering from Asthma and other health conditions. By utilizing the patient assistance programs offered through pharmaceutical companies, we help individuals afford their medicine .