November Asthma Case Study
November Asthma Case Study
Asthma and Salt Cave Therapy
John is a 74 year old retired teacher with a history of asthma, recovering from pneumonia. He called the Asthma Adviceline to seek advice about salt cave therapy as a complementary treatment for asthma.
"My name is John and I am a 74 yr old retired teacher, with a history of asthma. I stopped smoking 25 years ago, having smoked 20 cigarettes daily for over 30 years. My current medications consist of Seretide MDI 250mcg once daily, Spiriva handihaler 18mcg once daily and nebulised Ventolin therapy twice daily. I am taking no further medication.
At the moment I am recovering from pneumonia and I am still coughing everyday. I recently finished a course of antibiotic and oral steroid tablets. A friend of mine recently told me about salt caves and their apparent ‘ benefit’ in the control of asthma. As my recovery to baseline after pneumonia has been very slow I phoned the asthma Adviceline to enquire if exposure to salt cave therapy would benefit me . The Asthma Nurse gave me the following advice and information on Salt Cave Therapy.
The popularity of salt treatment was inspired by the 19th century findings that polish salt miners had fewer pulmonary problems than other people. These findings are not completely understood but may have come from air quality, underground climate, air pressure or radiation and the fact that the salt miners were living in a dry environment for a long period of time.
Recently, commercial businesses have set up salt cave therapy units and advertise the therapy as an alternative therapy or complementary therapy in the treatment of asthma. Due to the paucity of trials on the benefit of ‘salt treatment’ no definitive conclusions can be made as to the effectiveness of this treatment in chronic asthma. More trials with long term follow up are necessary.
The nurse explained although some patients may experience some benefits from salt therapy the Asthma Society expresses concerns regarding this treatment with patients who have severe, or persistent asthma, reactive airways, or indeed any condition, unless under medical supervision and whilst continuing current prescribed medications.
The nurse continued the Adviceline call by reviewing my current medications.
‘Seretide’ is classed as a ‘preventer or controller’ medication. It contains 2 medicines which act by reducing inflammation in the airways and widening the breathing tubes. Its onset of action is not immediate and requires it to be inhaled on a regular twice daily basis to fulfil its potential.The correct use of the device is vital for deposition of the medicine into the airways. The nurse said the best way to learn is to see a demonstration from a Health care professional (HCP) and practice its use in front of them. The nurse also told me to watch the Asthma Society’s Asthma Videos section, where a wide range of Inhaler Technique Demonstatsion videos can be found.
If a person is using the Metered Dose Inhaler device in the form of Seretide, it is recommended a spacer device be used with it. The spacer device holds on to the larger particles of the medicine that would normally land in the mouth, thus enhancing the delivery of the medicine to the airways. It is always recommended to mouth rinse after Seretide to lessen the risk of oral thrush.
I told the nurse I was prescribed one puff of Seretide 250 once a day. However,my cough was persisting. The nurse suggested that I might need to review my Asthma Management Plan with my GP to rationalise my current medications. I had not had a review by my GP in 3 months since my pneumonia was diagnosed. The nurse informed me my GP may suggest that the dosage and frequency of Seretide may be changed and used with a spacer device.
In regards to my use of a nebuliser the nurse explained that nebulised treatment delivers larger amounts of prescribed medication than an inhaler device. In hospitals, nebulised therapy is often used in Emergency Departments in an acute situation and continued for a number of days until the exacerbation is controlled. However once a patient’s condition improves, most patients are transferred back to using inhaler devices with correct inhaler technique instruction.
The nurse advised me to consult my GP as to whether I should continue my nebulised therapy.
Having spoken to the Asthma Nurse, I realise I need to go back to my GP to review my Asthma Management Plan so I can get my asthma back under control after suffering with Pneumonia.
If you would like to speak to an Asthma Nurse, call the Asthma Adviceline on 1850 44 54 65. The Asthma Helpline is open Monday to Friday from 10am-1pm.
*Name of Helpline caller has been changed to protect the Helpline caller's privacy. Photo featured is of an actor.