Imagine you have asthma, and as you walk into your living room, you take a deep breath, ready to relax. Except, this time, a pesky allergen has snuck its way into your living room, and it has come with its friends, destructive dander.
As you take your breath, dander lands in your airways and allergens land on your lungs. Your organs are inflamed, and your airways collapse. You try to breathe, feeling the air move through you, like molasses through a straw.
The only thing to give you relief is your Ventolin inhaler, you reach for it and take a puff, but there’s very little relief. You keep trying to pump asthma-relieving-mist into your lungs but only after a few pumps and an anxious struggle can you finally breathe again.
Dealing with your asthma shouldn’t be this hard, but with the recent recall of leaking Ventolin inhalers, asthma patients are at risk of this struggle, as their inhalers have weaker doses and less of them.
Recalled Ventolin Inhalers
A quick relief inhaler Ventolin was recalled because of a leak causing a lot of concern for those who need the medication every day.
After packages of the inhaler seemed inflated due to leaking inhalers, the company of Ventolin, Glaxo Smith Kline has recalled almost 600,000 inhalers from hospitals, pharmacies, retailers, and wholesalers for inhalers with the lot number:[xiii]
These codes will be found on the metal part of the inhaler.
On April 4th, 2017, there was a class 2 recall, a precaution taken when a product has reversible health consequences along with a small chance of serious health risks. While it hasn’t been classified as a consumer recall (in which all consumers should return the affected products), it’s imperative for Ventolin users have to be wary of running out, since the usual amount of doses will be lessened because of the leaks.
Furthermore, users have to be wary of running out since the usual amount of doses will be lessened because of the leaks.[xiv] This can cause problems for people who consistently rely on quick relief from their asthma who need a sufficient dose and a lot of them.
For example, those who need an inhaler for acute bronchospasms might need their inhaler fairly frequently, in addition to a full dose, which means their inhaler won’t be providing the full benefits and for a shorter period of time. [xv]
If you are worried that your asthma or another respiratory illness will be compromised by this recall, you can call 1-888-825-5249.
Taking a few minutes to address this issue could prevent serious problems.
What triggers asthma attacks?
Asthma is the most common chronic disease in America. Affecting about 40 million people of all ages. Many of these people depend on inhalers while other use them as a precaution. Regardless, ensuring that these inhalers work is vital for patient’s safety.[i]
Asthma is a disease where your airways swell and produce mucus making breathing tough if not impossible. Some cases of asthma can even be lethal.
The particular cause of asthma is unknown, but some people believe that it is a combination of genetics and environmental factors. [ii]
Common risk factors associated with asthma are:[iii]
- Chemicals from work
You can put yourself at risk of an asthma attack by surrounding yourself in these environments as well as other factors like:[iv]
- In the presence of allergens and irritants
- Physical activity
- Cold air
- Some medications
- And sulphites and preservatives in food
Limiting these conditions is the best way to avoid asthma attacks.
What are the Symptoms?
For some, the symptoms of asthma are minor and involve coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath while others have life-threatening asthma attacks.[v]
Other symptoms of asthma are:[vi]
- Chest tightness and pain
- Shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing when sleeping
- Whistling and wheezing when exhaling
Things that can make asthma worse are allergies, exercise, and irritants in the workplace. Signs that these are making your asthma worse include:[vii]
- More frequent and bothersome symptoms
- Increasing difficulty breathing, and you can use a peak flow meter to measure this objectively
- You need your quick-relief inhaler more often
Talk to your doctor
Asthma is something that needs to be maintained because there isn’t a known cure for it. One of the best ways to avoid asthma attacks and other problems is by talking to your doctor, monitoring your asthma, and recognizing changes to your asthma as it develops over time. When symptoms get worse, talking to your doctor about different medication instead of using more medication is vital.[viii]
Learn Your Triggers
Learning your triggers is also a big deal. Recognize what animals, foods, and environments make you react.
Medications and Procedures
To avoid deadly asthma attacks, keep quick-relief inhalers on hand while using long-term medications like corticosteroids and combination inhalers to control your asthma.
A procedure that is used for people who can’t be helped by medications is Bronchial Thermoplasty. This uses the heat of an electrode to reduce the muscles which surround our airways to make it easier to breathe.[x]
While more research needs to be done on food and its benefits, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an effective way to assist your body with asthma. For example, research has shown that people who do not eat fruits and vegetables, and are in worse physical shape are more likely to have reduced lung function.[xi]
Processed foods that contain sulphites are also suspected to cause asthma attacks, so avoiding these is key.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Other antioxidants which protect cells from damage
However, while all these steps can improve an asthma patient’s livelihood, inhalers are still a necessary precaution and a necessity for those with severe forms of asthma. Therefore, when recalls happen on inhalers, it should be a big concern for the 40 million people with it.
Lastly, there are some exercises you can do to increase your air intake. Check out these nine exercises if you have asthma or you’re short of breath.
When you have asthma, the threat of an adverse reaction sits at the back of your mind. To live carefree for a few moments, you put your faith in your inhaler to live without the looming danger of an asthma attack. Having an inhaler is more that just something to help you breathe, it is peace of mind and to ensure you’re actually safe it is important to look out for recalls like this one to protect yourself.
[i] ROSENTHAL E. The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath. Nytimescom. 2013. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/us/the-soaring-cost-of-a-simple-breath.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. Accessed April 18, 2017.
[ii] Asthma – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/basics/definition/con-20026992. Accessed April 18, 2017.
[xi] Asthma and Diet. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/asthma-diet-what-you-should-know#1. Accessed April 18, 2017.
[xiii] AAFA Community Services. GlaxoSmithKline Recalling Ventolin Inhalers for Possible Package Leakage. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 2017. Available at: https://community.aafa.org/blog/glaxosmithkline-recalling-ventolin-inhalers-for-possible-package-leakage. Accessed April 18, 2017.
[xiv] Thomson Reuters. GSK recalls nearly 600,000 asthma inhalers in U.S. CBC News. 2017. Available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/asthma-inhaler-recall-1.4061190. Accessed April 18, 2017.
[xv] Service T. GlaxoSmithKline is voluntarily recalling nearly 600K asthma inhalers. FOX6Nowcom. 2017. Available at: http://fox6now.com/2017/04/06/glaxosmithkline-recalls-nearly-600000-asthma-inhalers-nationwide/. Accessed April 18, 2017.
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