A guide to Ventolin Inhalers for Asthma
Written by: Hussain Abdeh MPharm: 2211840
Published on: 04/05/2021
Updated on: 05/05/2021
In this guide
Ventolin is one of the most renowned brands of asthma relief inhalers available. They contain a medicine called salbutamol as the active ingredient, which helps to provide rapid and long-lasting relief from the symptoms of asthma. The effects of salbutamol last for hours, allowing sufferers to get on with their day free from symptoms.
In this article, we will take a look at how Ventolin inhalers should be used and how they provide effective relief from asthma symptoms. Furthermore, we will be looking the symptoms, causes and statistics surrounding asthma.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a condition that affects the lungs, creating sporadic breathing problems. It is a common condition and can occur in people of all ages, frequently beginning during childhood. However, you can also develop asthma for the first time in adulthood.
This condition is caused by inflammation of the breathing tubes that allow air to flow in and out of the lungs. Asthma attacks make the tubes narrow temporarily, which makes it harder for you to breathe normally. This causes you to feel short of breath, wheeze and cough.
You can suffer asthma attacks at random, but they can also be caused by a ‘trigger’, which is something that can aggravate your asthma. If you can find out what triggers your asthma, you will have a better chance of being able to control it properly.
The symptoms of asthma can commonly be triggered by the following:
- Doing exercise
- Infections, such as the flu or a cold
- Smoke, pollution and cold air
- Allergies, such as animal fur, pollen or dust
Asthma can be a lifelong condition, especially if it occurs for the first time in adulthood. Children who suffer with asthma may find that it eases or goes away completely during their teenage years. However, this problem may reoccur in adulthood.
Currently, there is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled by using an asthma inhaler like Ventolin. Using a treatment to control your symptoms should mean that you are able to lead a normal life.
Statistics from Asthma UK show that:
- 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving asthma treatments
- Asthma attacks kill on average 3 people daily in the UK
- Someone has an asthma attack every 10 seconds in the UK
- Asthma costs the NHS £1billion per year in treatment costs
It is important to remember that asthma is a very serious medical condition that must be controlled. If you do not control your asthma, or if it goes undiagnosed, it can lead to complications such as:
- A constant feeling of tiredness
- Delays in growth or puberty in children
- Lung infections
- Stress, depression or anxiety
- Severe asthma attacks, which are potentially life-threatening
The most common symptoms of asthma include the following:
- Feeling breathless
- Tightness in your chest
If you have not been diagnosed with asthma but you think that you or your child may be suffering with this condition, you are advised to speak to your GP.
Some of the symptoms of asthma are similar to those of other health conditions. Because of this, it is important that you get a proper diagnosis from a doctor, so that an appropriate treatment can be prescribed for you. Your doctor will normally be able to diagnose your condition by asking you a few questions and running some tests.
How does an inhaler work?
Asthma inhalers are prescribed to both adults and children to help to control and prevent asthma attacks.
Ventolin is a reliever inhaler that contains the active ingredient salbutamol, which is a short-acting, selective beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist. Ventolin works to relieve the symptoms of asthma when you have an asthma attack. You should take it as soon as you notice your asthma symptoms occurring. It can also be taken to prevent an asthma attack before you exercise.
Salbutamol works by relaxing the muscles in your airways when you have an asthma attack. This stops the muscles from contracting, which allows air to pass in and out of the lungs more easily, so you can breathe normally again.
When the medicine is inhaled, it can reach your airways swiftly and get to work quickly. Salbutamol gets to work within minutes and the effects will generally last for around 5 hours.
Blue inhaler or brown inhaler?
Asthma inhalers generally come in blue or brown colours. These colours differ depending on the type of inhaler you are prescribed.
There are two different types of inhalers: ‘reliever inhalers’ and ‘preventer inhalers’. A preventer inhaler is used every day to help protect against the symptoms of asthma. They contain a low dose of a steroid medicine that works to stop your airways from swelling and becoming inflamed.
Preventer inhalers are normally brown in colour. Not everyone will be prescribed a preventer inhaler, but you may be given a prescription for one if your asthma symptoms are so severe that you need medication to help to control them. Preventer inhalers should be taken as prescribed, even if your asthma symptoms are not affecting you.
Brown inhalers should not be used when you are suffering an asthma attack. If you are prescribed a preventer inhaler, you should also have a reliever inhaler with you at all times.
Blue inhalers like Ventolin are reliever inhalers, which should be taken as and when your asthma bothers you. If you start to feel tightness in your chest or uncontrollable coughing or wheezing, you should use your blue inhaler as soon as possible. Reliever inhalers like Ventolin act within a few minutes and help your breathing to return to normal.
To find out more information on what is a ventolin inhaler, read our detailed medical guide.
Everyone who is diagnosed with asthma should have a reliever inhaler. You should always carry the blue inhaler around with you, in case you come into contact with any asthma triggers or you have an asthma attack, which can occur without any warning.
Blue inhalers contain the active ingredient Salbutamol which offers effective instant relief from asthma symptoms. Although Ventolin is the most well-known blue reliever inhaler, there are a wide range of Ventolin alternatives that contain salbutamol and are just as effective.
How to use a blue inhaler (Ventolin)
Breathe as slowly as you can before you use your inhaler.
- Sit upright or stand up while using your asthma inhaler.
- Remove the mouthpiece cover and check to make sure that the mouthpiece is clean and clear from any objects.
- Shake your asthma inhaler 4 or 5 times to mix the contents evenly.
- Hold your inhaler upright and breathe out as far as you can. Do not breathe in again yet.
- Put the mouthpiece in your mouth between your teeth, without biting it. Close your lips around the mouthpiece.
- Breathe in through your mouth and press down on the top of the canister as you start to breathe in. This will release one puff of the medicine.
- Hold your breath and remove the inhaler from your mouth. Keep holding your breath for a few seconds.
- If you have been instructed to take two puffs from your blue inhaler, wait for 30 seconds before you take another puff, then repeat this process when taking a second puff.
- Replace the mouthpiece cover immediately after using your blue inhaler.
Use your blue inhaler as instructed by your doctor, pharmacist or asthma nurse. You should always read the patient information leaflet, which will come with your inhaler, for full instructions on how to use Ventolin. Consult your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if you have any questions after reading the leaflet.
Only use Ventolin when you require it, such as when you start to notice your asthma symptoms flaring up, or when you are about to exercise or do a strenuous activity.
All of our doctors and pharmacists follow Nice guidelines when prescribing Ventolin.
The normal dosage for adults and children aged 12 years and older is:
- One or two puffs to relieve asthma
- Two puffs to prevent asthma symptoms before exercising or being exposed to a trigger
- The maximum dose is 8 puffs in 24 hours
For children under 12 years of age, the dosage is:
- One puff (two if needed) to relieve asthma
- One puff (two if needed) to prevent asthma symptoms before exercising or being exposed to a trigger
- The maximum dose is 8 puffs in 24 hours
All in all, Ventolin inhalers for asthma are one of the most effective treatments available. Everyone who is diagnosed with asthma should ensure that their reliever inhaler is always within easy reach. Asthma attacks can be brought on by known triggers and also occur out of nowhere, so it is vital that your inhaler is always with you in case you suffer from breathing problems.
The salbutamol contained in Ventolin inhalers gets to work within just a few minutes, and the effects of this medicine should continue to work for around 5 hours. This allows you to exercise and/or go about your day unhindered by your asthma.
If you think that you or your child may be suffering from the symptoms of asthma, you should make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. For most asthma sufferers, once a suitable treatment has been prescribed, they can continue with their daily lives as normal, free from symptoms. However, if left undiagnosed and without a proper treatment, asthma can lead to serious complications.
Knowing exactly when to use your blue and brown inhaler at the correct time can be lifesaving when it comes to asthma. Knowing exactly how to use it can be equally as important. Asthma affects over 5 million adults in the UK with 3 people dying every day due to an asthma attack. Don't take a risk when it comes to your asthma, always carry your blue reliever inhaler with you at all times.