For the purposes of Survive Outdoors, discussion of asthma
will be limited to basic information.
Many of you of course are aware that asthma is a spasm of
the bronchial tree, which causes wheezing and, in severe forms,
causes individuals to be quite frightened, since they feel
like they cannot catch their breath.
Asthma is broken down into two types:
- Exertion or exercise induced.
- Allergen induced.
Wheezing can be triggered by not only cold air, but by allergens
from many sources including a variety of fauna, campfires,
dust, and any airborne allergen that one could possibly encounter
in the outdoors. If a predisposition to asthma is known to
exist, precautions should always be taken, as one does not
know when they are going to suffer an asthma attack. Individuals
can still enjoy campfires, but should stay a distance away
to avoid smoke inhalation. ALWAYS carry an MDI inhaler! We
suggest carrying a Beta-agonist metered dose inhaler, a 2-week
course of Prednisone, and a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
Proper usage of an inhaler
Proper usage of an inhaler is extremely important. During
the last 10-15 years of practicing medicine, I have seen numerous
individuals who have actually been taught incorrectly or have
not been taught at all by their healthcare providers, regarding
the proper usage of a metered dose inhaler. Even though an
aero-chamber is very bulky, it is of the utmost importance
in terms of increasing the efficacy of the medication. If
an aero-chamber is not available, the inhaler should be kept
approximately 1” away from your mouth when using it.
By putting the inhaler on your mouth, 60-70% of the medication
gets caught on the roof of your mouth and tongue, and does
not get into your lungs.
1. Paul S. Auerbach, Wilderness