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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.



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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When An Inhaler Is Not Enough: Other Allergic Asthma Treatments To Explore

by Francisco Arnold

Some people who have allergic asthma are able to get by just avoiding allergens as much as possible and using a rescue inhaler when they have an attack. This is often the first treatment a doctor will recommend trying when you have been diagnosed with allergic asthma. Sadly, however, it does not work for everyone. If you are not experiencing relief with an inhaler alone, here are a few more advanced treatment options to discuss with your doctor.

1. Steroid Medications

Corticosteroid medications work to decrease inflammation in your body. They may stop your body from releasing histamine in reaction to exposure to an allergen, so your asthma symptoms do not bother you as much. Many people with asthma rely on inhaled corticosteroids. They inhale a puff each morning and night, regardless of whether they are having any symptoms. Inhaling the drug directly into the respiratory tract allows it to have the greatest effect on these tissues. If you do not tolerate inhaled corticosteroids well, your doctor may recommend an oral medication instead. The benefit of an oral medication is that it does a better job of calming allergic reactions throughout the body, which may be good if you also suffer from itching and other allergy symptoms.

2. Allergy Shots

If your allergies are severe, your doctor may recommend that you go through a series of allergy shots. Over a period of several years, you will be injected with preparations that contain small amounts of the things to which you are allergic. At first, you will need a shot every week. Eventually, you will only need one monthly. Long-term exposure to small concentrations of the allergen teaches your body not to react to it. Eventually, you should no longer suffer from asthma when you encounter an allergen.

Allergy shots are effective, but they are time-consuming and have the potential to cause an anaphylactic reaction. As such, they are not recommended for all patients. Your doctor can tell you whether you would be a candidate.

3. A Nebulizer

Another option would be to purchase a nebulizer. This is a machine that vaporizes medications—often the same ones found in an inhaler. You would inhale the medication slowly over a period of 10 to 15 minutes each day. The longer exposure period increases the medication's effectiveness. The downside to this approach is that it is time-consuming, and a nebulizer can be expensive. However, many people with allergic asthma who are not candidates for allergy shots do experience relief with this method. 

Contact a clinic like the Allergy & Asthma Centers SC for more information.