So glad I found this board I'm new to this asthma thing and really don't know what to expect. A little history - OK I know I have allergies, but my allergy testing was done in my teens, now I'm 41. I have always been allergic to cats, sniffling & sneezing kind of allergies, which I found tolerable. In mid summer I got a kitty and the sniffling & sneezing started - I loved having a cat so much that I wanted another one - brought the 2nd one home and the asthma symptoms started. After 6 weeks of mild symptoms, tight chest and shortness of breath, I broke down and went to the doctor. He at first said diagnosis was asthma, gave me a Medrol pack and albuterol inhaler, wow after a couple of days I felt like a new person. I returned to the doctor after finishing the Medrol pack and he said I had asthmatic bronchitis. About a month later I got a cold and it went to my chest, returned to the doctor got another Medrol pack, he said asthmatic bronchitis again, but he didn't have me come back when I finished it this time. So now I don't feel as bad as the 2 times I went to the doctor, but I do have mild symptoms (tight chest and short breath) just about every day. I use the albuterol when I get up in the morning and before I go to bed, with using it 2x a day I feel fine. I'm wondering though if I should be using it this much or if I should be using something else? My symptoms are mild but I think I stress out over it which makes it worse.
I know I'm crazy for keeping the cats. You don't know what they have done for me though, before I got them I really think I was depressed, I am so much happier now. But in the back of my mind every day I think they are killing me.
I filled my house with Ionic Breeze machines when all this started, and in a prior post I read that this isn't good???
It's a corticosteroid... in other words, yes it's a steroid. It's an inhaled steroid though, the kind of steroid you're nervous about taking about is an oral steroid (Medrol is an oral steroid, for instance).
Inhaled steroids are FAR safer than oral steroids. They go directly to the lungs, thus making it so that very little to none of the steroid gets into the bloodstream. Also, their side effects are minimal.
It's better to be on a regular inhaled steroid than to let your asthma get bad enough to need a lot of oral steroid bursts.
I tried to post this last night, but it wouldn't let me, so even though all the questions have been pretty much answered, I'll post the copy I saved anyway.
Pulmicort is budesonide. Yes, that's a steroid, but inhaled steroids don't have nearly the side effects oral ones. In fact, they rarely effect anything but the lungs. It may be something to look into. If you want a steroid free option, that would be Singulair, which is a pill, and may also help with your allergies. Since Singulair is a pill though, it will effect parts of your body other than your lungs (though my side effects on it are minimal).
Medrol is a steroid, a much, much stronger steroid than the Pulmicort, like Rachel says.
If the medrol turns you around like nobody's business and the moment it runs out you start feeling sick again, this is definitely evidence to present to your physician that perhaps constant inhaled steroid therapy would be an option to keep you off the pred bursts, if only because the steroid therapy seems to be working for you at present. It's always up to him, of course, and he may want to explore other avenues first, but according to the Asthma Society, daily inhaled corticosteroids are pretty much the mainstay of asthma maintenance therapy and have few side effects, especially when compared to the problems of uncontrolled asthma and/or oral steroid bursts like the medrol.