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There are few things that are scarier than being unable to breathe. Those who suffer from respiratory problems like asthma know now frightening it can be when your airway is cut off. Fortunately, there are now a wide range of respiratory mediations available for the treatment of asthma, COPD, and other chronic respiratory diseases. There are different types of medication that a person might be given for a respiratory problem. Perhaps the most common type is inhalants. As the name implies, this class of medication is inhaled.

They are formed when liquid medicine becomes suspended in air to form a mist, similar to an aerosol cleaning product or hairspray. The patient breathes this mist in, and the medicine is carried into the respiratory system. It is absorbed directly by the airways and lungs, which is what makes is such a fast and effective treatment. Many types of respiratory diseases are caused by airways that become inflamed or constricted, or parts of the lungs that are damaged. A medicine that is breathed in goes directly to these damaged parts.

Most asthma medications are inhalants, including rescue inhalers that are used during an attack and daily inhalers that are used regularly to prevent attacks. A nebulizer also uses inhaled medication. These machines work on the same principle as inhalers, but are more powerful. They deliver more and higher doses of medication to patients who are having a very difficult time breathing.

A nebulizer might be used to treat a patient having a severe asthma attack; a chronic sufferer who uses it for regular treatment; or even a person with no previous respiratory problems who has been exposed to toxic fumes. Those with chronic problems might even have a home nebulizer for daily use in preventing severe problems. Whatever the cause of a person’s breathing problem, an inhalant is a highly effective medicine.

Oral medications are also used to treat respiratory problems. Like inhalants, these are often steroids, which help to open closed airways. Oral steroids are not used in emergencies because they do not work as fast, but can be used to help manage chronic conditions like moderate to severe asthma and COPD (or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). In these cases, a constant level of steroids in the body can prevent sudden onset symptoms.

Antibiotics are also used in some cases, mainly bronchitis, which is caused by an infection in the respiratory system. Chronic bronchitis, with is one aspect of COPD, might be treated with steroids as well. Managing a respiratory disease can be difficult, but with the variety of available information doctors are sure to find the right drug and dosage for every patient.