WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Asthma is long-term inflammation and narrowing of the airways in your lungs. This causes less air flow to your lungs and makes it hard to breathe.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
Without treatment, your asthma attacks can last longer and happen more often. Your symptoms can get worse. Asthma can cause your airways to thicken, letting less air through them. Your lung tissue can get damaged and scarred. Your body may not get enough oxygen. This can cause damage to your organs and be life-threatening.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
An IV (intravenous)
is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine. Never turn the pulse oximeter or alarm off. An alarm will sound if your oxygen level is low or cannot be read.
- Inhaled short-acting bronchodilators: These are given to help open your airways quickly. They start to work right away and are used to relieve sudden, severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing. They are called relievers or rescue inhalers.
- Steroids: These help decrease swelling and open your airways to help you breathe easier. They may be given as pills or in an inhaler. After an asthma attack, you may need steroid pills for several days. Inhaled steroids are used for long-term control.
- Combination inhalers: These include a long-acting bronchodilator and a steroid. They help open the airways over time, and are used to decrease and prevent breathing problems. They are only used when your asthma is not controlled with other medicines. They are not helpful during an asthma attack.
- Immunomodulators: These may help control your asthma symptoms over time. They are given in the hospital or doctor's office.
- Sedative: This medicine is given to help you stay calm and relaxed.
- Blood gases: This is also called an arterial blood gas, or ABG. Blood is taken from an artery (blood vessel) in your wrist, arm, or groin. Your blood is tested for the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in it. The results can tell caregivers how well your lungs are working.
- Blood tests: You may need blood tests to determine if your asthma attack is caused by an infection.
- ECG: This is also called an EKG. An ECG is done to check for damage or problems in your heart. A short period of electrical activity in your heart is recorded.
- Pulmonary function test: This helps caregivers learn how well your lungs work. During the test, you breathe into a mouthpiece connected to a machine. The machine measures how much air you breathe in and out over a certain amount of time.
- Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your lungs to look for signs of infection, such as pneumonia.
- Oxygen: You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your caregiver before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
- Nebulizer: A long tube goes from the machine to a small round container that holds asthma medicine. The liquid turns into a mist once the machine is turned on. You breathe in this mist through a mouthpiece.
- Ventilator: This is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your airway through your mouth or nose. You may need a trach if an ET tube cannot be placed. A trach is an airway tube put into an incision (cut) in the front of your neck. The ET tube or trach is attached to the ventilator.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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