An asthmatic patient tends to get asthma attacks if the asthma is not controlled and the air tubes are reactive to triggers in the environment including the haze. In order to minimize asthma attacks, it is important that asthma is controlled and an appropriate dose of preventer medications may be necessary to achieve this.
For asthma, there are two broad categories of medications (1) preventer medications which treat lung inflammation and make the lungs less sensitive, therefore less reactive to triggers such as environmental pollutants (such as the haze) and (2) reliever medications which give relief and expand the person’s airtubes which become constricted during an attack.
When environmental triggers are present (such as the haze) an asthmatic whose asthma was previously under control may experience worsening of asthma. If the patient is not on any preventer medication, it may need to be started. If an asthmatic is already using preventer medication, the dose may need to be adjusted. Therefore you should see your doctor regarding this.
All asthmatics should also be equipped with a Written Asthma Action Plan (WAAP) which is a list of instructions on what steps should be undertaken should an asthma attack occur. The WAAP instructs an asthmatic on how to (i) recognize early symptoms of an attack so that appropriate measures may be taken to prevent the attack from worsening and (ii) recognize if an attack is severe so that urgent medical attention is sought. Please see your regular doctor regarding the WAAP.
As for bringing an inhaler home, all asthmatics, no matter how well controlled previously, should have a reliever at hand (in the form of an inhaler, usually salbutamol inhaler) which serves to expand the constricted air tubes in the event of an attack.
Answered by Dr. Ng Wai Chung, Consultant Family Physician