How to Treat Smoke Induced Shortness of Breath in Preppers

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Having an inhaler in your med kit can make all the difference in treating breathing problems inevitable during smoke filled apocalyptic disasters. Our last post discussed treating Sinusitis during these terrible times. Now we’ll extend our discussion to the lungs – and see that an inhaler can be one of the most valuable additions to your medical preps.

Smoke inhalation causes bronchoconstriction, which can be heard as a squeaking noise called wheezing. When severe, the person can have difficulty catching their breath, and traveling long distances over land becomes impossible. Sometimes your respirator or mask will not be enough to completely protect you from heavy smoke. In those cases you’ll want to reach for an inhaler.

Albuterol & Primatene Mist Inhalers

Of all inhalers available, Albuterol is the one you’d really want. But it’s available by prescription only – unless you get it through the internet… or by other creative means.

If you cannot find Albuterol, you can get the over-the-counter (OTC) version called Primatene Mist. Like Albuterol (a.k.a. Proventil), Primatene Mist is a bronchodilator. It opens the airways thereby making it easier to breathe. Primatene Mist’s major drawback is its harsh side effect profile. It can raise a person’s heart rate and cause palpitations or “fluttering of the heart.” It also tends to make the person shaky and nervous. It’s basically inhaled adrenalin!

Albuterol is much safer than Primatene Mist, and has fewer side effects. For many of us it remains a mystery why Albuterol is by prescription only, and why Primatene Mist remains OTC.

Just about any condition that causes wheezing will improve with either of these inhalers.  By no means are they the only puffers out there. But the others are aerosolized steroids or other medications designed to prevent asthma attacks. They’re not of much use when treating someone with acute shortness of breath.

albuterol inhaler

We’ve saved the most important point about inhalers for last: hardly anyone uses one correctly. This means more often than not, the medication sprays the back of a person’s throat and never makes it into their lungs where it’s needed. This is where “spacers” can help.

Spacers – Life Savers for the Uncoordinated

In the 1990s the improper use of inhalers meant many children – some with life-threatening asthma – were being under-treated. In response a device called a spacer, or sometimes an AeroChamber, was marketed for use with most types of inhaled medications.

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This meant trying to time your inhalation just perfectly so a mist, like the one shown on top, could make its way into the deepest recesses of your lungs was no longer a problem. One spray of the inhaler is delivered into the chamber at a time. The person begins by hooking the inhaler into the spacer, sprays a burst, then puts their mouth to the other end and starts breathing deeply.  After a minute or two the procedure is repeated with a 2nd puff – if necessary.

Collapsible and Homemade Spacers

Hauling around a full-sized spacer in your kit can take up precious room. But that’s not a problem for a prepper! If room is an issue, either buy a collapsible model, or study the design and make your own from scavenged parts when needed.

Directions for Using an Inhaler Without a Spacer:

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If you’d like to know more about inhalers, spacers, and treating wheezing, click on the book image below:

Zombie Apocalypse

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Keywords: asthma, Albuterol, Primatene Mist, spacers, inhalers, treating wheezing, treating shortness of breath

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