Breathing Treatments

The Three Most Common Types of Breathing Treatments

A man holding an inhaler up to his mouthBreathing problems can range from allergies, asthma and sleep apnea to more serious conditions such as bronchitis, emphysema and COPD. To treat these conditions, most physicians will recommend treatments that incorporate particular breathing treatments to help alleviate the symptoms and restore as much lung function as possible, so that you can live your life in the best way possible. To help you understand what treatments are out there, we will go over the most common types and explain how they work.

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The most common of all prescription-breathing treatments for conditions like allergies and asthma will use devices known as inhalers to deliver the necessary medicines. The two basic types of inhalers that are used are rescue and maintenance inhalers. Both of these deliver medicine in different doses and have different effects.

Rescue inhalers are designed to alleviate immediately symptoms that go along with the sudden attacks that occur when triggers such as dust or pet dander are encountered.

When used, a rescue inhaler delivers an anticholinergic, a medicine that helps the bronchial tubes in your lungs remain open, so that you can breathe somewhat normally during the attack. For milder cases of asthma, the maintenance inhaler may be used, as a type of therapy for the lungs and bronchial tubes. The medicine is the same as what is in the rescue inhaler, but the dosage is less and the effects last longer, often as long as two weeks between sessions.

Oral Medications

When oral medications are prescribed, it means that they are meant to treat symptoms in the long term, and not meant to be used as any kind of rescue treatment during attacks. They are often combined with inhalers or nebulizers as part of a long-range treatment plan and will contain corticosteroids to treat the bronchial tubes in your lungs so that they spasm or constrict less frequently.


Nebulizers are machines that will use a compressor to transform liquid medications into vapors, making them easier to inhale. This type of aid is generally used for patients with COPD. It delivers either corticosteroids or bronchodilators that help your lungs fight off inflammation and keep the air passages open.

A variation on the nebulizer machine for the treatment of sleep apnea is the CPAP form of breathing treatments. Used during your normal sleep cycle, it uses oxygen instead of medicine to ensure that air flows normally through your air passages at a regulated rate and you get to enjoy a healthier and more restful sleep.