Steroid Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs) and dry powder inhalers (DPIs), such as Flovent and Pulmicort are used to prevent asthma, rather than treating the asthma once wheezing is present.  Steroid MDIs and DPIs decrease inflammation and mucus production, decrease twitchiness of the airway and increase the effectiveness of other asthma medications.  These are topical steroids which are effective mainly on the lining of the air tubes and therefore not much is absorbed into the blood stream.  They have minimal side effects when used correctly and can be used for long-term treatment without the side effects of oral steroids.

During a mild acute asthma, steroid inhaler use is often increased (according to the asthma crisis management plan).  Your  Asthma & Allergy Center  doctor may have you do one spray per hour while awake for the first 24 hours or until asthma symptoms are controlled.  Your  Asthma & Allergy Center  doctor should be contacted for further instructions.  This technique may avoid oral steroid for mild flares.
Steroid MDIs may cause a yeast infection in the mouth if a spacer is not used or the mouth is not rinsed thoroughly after each use.  Brushing of the teeth after using a steroid inhaler or using a spacer are good ways of preventing oral yeast infections.

How to Recognize an Oral Yeast Infection and What to do About It

An oral yeast infection (thrush) may be recognized if one or more of the following symptoms are present:

  1. White patches in mouth on tongue or throat
  2. Coated feeling on tongue
  3. Sore throat or tongue

Please contact your doctor for treatment if these signs are present.

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