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Asthma symptoms, how to prevent an asthma attack and treatment available in the UK

Approximately 5.4 million people in the UK have asthma and for the vast majority, it is extremely manageable. If you require daily care, this is in the form of preventer inhalers that can be used just once or twice a day whilst many others require relief just through reliever treatment on a needs-be basis. Inhalers are only available on prescription but you don't need to book and attend a doctor's appointment face-to-face. OnlineClinic offer eight inhalers to buy online for both consistent and sporadic use.

Dr Hilary Jones Dr Hilary Jones
OnlineClinic Medical Advisor

"Asthmatic symptoms if left untreated could potentially prove harmful. For sufferers of the condition, it is essential to have the right inhaler treatment to hand."

Treatment Options

Ventolin is a type of inhaler known as a "reliever" inhaler. It can be used to relieve the symptoms of an asthma attack. It contains the active ingredient microfine salbutamol and can be use in one of two forms: the Evohaler or the Accuhaler. Ventolin is able to relax the lung muscles and open the airways, which makes it easier for the air to flow into the lungs.
Manufactured by
Allen & Hanburys

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Clenil Modulate is a preventer inhaler that is used to prevent symptoms of asthma that are mild to severe. It contains beclometasone dipropionate and is a type of corticosteroid. Corticosteroids like Clenil Modulate have anti-inflammatory properties and are able to reduce irritation and swelling in the respiratory area.
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Flixotide is a form of preventer inhaler that is available on prescription. It can reduce inflammation and irritation in the respiratory system to reduce symptoms and help prevent asthma attacks. It contains fluticasone propionate and is a type of corticosteroid. Flixotide is available as either an Evohaler or an Accuhaler.
Manufactured by
Allen & Hanburys

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Pulmicort is a type of Turbohaler that is used as a preventative treatment for asthma. It can prevent and reduce symptoms of asthma but is not designed to provide immediate relief in the event of an asthma attack. It is a corticosteroid that uses budesonide to reduce inflammation and swelling in the lungs.
Manufactured by
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Qvar is a preventer inhaler that is available in three forms: Autohaler, Aerosol and Easi-Breathe. It is a corticosteroid that contains beclometasone diproprionate and works to reduce the risk of asthma attacks. The choice of formations of this treatment is beneficial for patients who may have experienced difficulty with certain inhalers in the past.
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Seretide is a type of preventer inhaler that can help to prevent asthma attacks and alleviate the symptoms of this respiratory condition. It is available as either an Accuhaler or an Evohaler. Seretide contains salmeterol and fluticasone as its two active ingredients, which work to improve air flow and reduce inflammation.
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Symbicort is a type of asthma inhaler that is designed to be used as a preventative treatment for this respiratory condition. It is available as a Turbohaler, which means the medication is released through inhalation alone. It contains budesonide and formoterol fumarate dihydrate.
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Atrovent is a preventative treatment for asthma that is available in the form of an inhaler. It can help to prevent asthma attacks and can also treat COPD. It contains ipratropium bromide as its active ingredient and helps to relax the airways to make breathing easier and reduce the risk of asthma attacks.
Manufactured by
Boehringer Ingelheim

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What is asthma?

Asthma is a long-term – chronic – condition that affects the lungs and airways. Whilst there is no cure for asthma, there are certain lifestyle choices and highly effective treatment that can limit breathlessness and significantly remove any discomfort or potential asthma attacks the condition can cause. Asthma is so common - with most developing the condition in childhood - meaning there's a wealth of information regarding asthmatic triggers and how to buy asthma treatment that the vast majority can manage their condition efficiency on a daily basis.

Asthmatics are always advised to have a supply of inhalers on them dependent on whether you need a preventer or reliever, and to carry one – in date – on their person.

Asthma causes

The causes of asthma can vary massively from person to person. What might trigger symptoms associated with asthma for you may have no affect on another. There has been a link to hereditary causes so if your parents or grandparents have asthma, you are more likely to develop it at some point. There has also been links to pregnancy and birthing factors as well.

Whatever the underlying cause of the condition for you happens to be, certain situations can trigger breathlessness. These include:

  • Pollen (hay fever)
  • Pollution
  • Exercise
  • Smoke (smoking)
  • Getting a cold
  • Mould and bacteria
  • Fumes and gasses
  • Dust
  • Perfumes
  • Chemicals
  • Any other allergies (e.g. animals)

If you are unsure what triggers asthma, it is recommended that you adjust certain lifestyle choices and make a note of what can improve the condition for you.

Asthma symptoms

As with causes and triggers, symptoms can also vary amongst asthmatics.

  • Breathlessness
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest

When experiencing an asthma attack, these symptoms will become more severe and include light-headedness, as there is a struggle to get enough air to feel your lungs.

By altering triggers, you could remove any symptoms of asthma completely. This could be adjusting your exercise regime to avoid less strenuous activities, quitting smoking or buying inhalers and allergy treatment.

Treating asthma

For some with manageable asthma symptoms, you may not need continuous treatment, however it is always advised to carry the most effective inhaler for you around just in case of emergencies. Asthma inhalers also have a shelf life, so checking the expiry date periodically is also common practice.

If you have light asthmatic symptoms, reliever inhalers will be recommended. These are ideal for short-term use when you experience wheeziness unexpectedly.

If you have more severe symptoms, or experience breathlessness on a daily basis, you will be recommended a preventive inhaler treatment that is used daily (once or twice a day) to prevent an attack from occurring and to generally make your life easier.

You can buy both relievers and preventers to use interchangeably when recommended by the doctor.

Treating an asthma attack

When subduing the symptoms of an asthma attack, you can follow simple guidelines to help ease worry and regulate breathing:

  • Make sure you are near others or a phone to call if needed
  • Sit up straight (don't lie down)
  • Use your reliever inhaler one or two times per minute for 5-10 minutes
  • Focus on calming your breathing and returning a constant rhythm
  • If your symptoms haven't improved, call 999 and continue for a further 15 minutes

Preventing asthma

As well as avoiding or limiting your contact with any triggers that appear to be making your asthma symptoms worse, there are other ways to help prevent severe symptoms or an attack from occurring:

  • Get the flu jab (this is free from the NHS from asthmatics)
  • Keeping a supply of in date inhalers
  • Allergy-proof your home (fabrics especially bedding)
  • Avoiding cigarette smoke or quitting smoking
  • Keeping a supply of antihistamines for any allergies
  • Avoiding high pollution areas
  • Getting GP check-ups intermittently

Buying treatment

Regardless of the triggers and severity of your condition, asthma can be managed effectively by altering lifestyle choices and purchasing the correct medication. Whether you require a preventer for daily use or a reliever for emergencies, many asthmatics keep an inhaler handy to ease symptoms and to significantly reduce the chances of an attack. At OnlineClinic, we provide eight different inhalers – for both short-term and long-term use – that are available for free delivery across the UK. If you already have the correct inhaler, you can order straight away, or visit our product pages for more information.