If you have asthma your medication will be divided into three groups, preventers, relievers and emergency drugs, taken via a bewildering array of delivery devices. Relievers relax the muscles in the airways so that they open out and you get more air into your lungs. These drugs are called bronchodilators and may be beta agonists such as ventolin which enhance sympathetic activity or anti cholinergic such as atrovent which sympathetic activity.
You usually inhale them. They may give you immediate relief if you are having an attack, so you should always carry your inhaler around with you. Preventers tackle the underlying inflammation, so calming the airways, and are steroids. It is important that your dosage is reduced when your asthma has improved. The maintenance dose should be the minimum necessary to keep your symptoms at bay.
There are few serious side effects from a regular standard dose, but you may feel hoarse and you may develop Candida, yeast like fungal infection in the mouth that may cause a sore throat. One of the most widely used steroid tablets in Australia and New Zealand is prednisolone. In South Africa, prednisone is the most common. Tablets are prescribed when inhalers do not work for you.
Your doctor may advise a short course over a week or two if you have had a sudden severe attack, or you may be given a longer course over several months to give you control over severe chronic asthma. Volatile organic compounds are smog farming gases, such as hydro carbon and benzene. Benzene, which is known to cause cancer, escapes from exhausts and petrol pumps when you are filling up the car.