Conditions affecting the airways and lungs range from minor illnesses, such as the common cold, to long-term disorders, such asthma. The discomfort of coughs and colds may be eased with over-the-counter remedies. However, the symptoms of long-term disorders, such as shortness of breath, can be severe and require specific medical treatment.
This section describes some of the drugs used to treat both common illnesses, such as coughs and colds, and more serious conditions that affect the airways and lungs.
The first three articles in this section discuss drugs used to treat common symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, such as nasal congestion, cough, and fever. The next article discusses bronchodilator drugs, which widen the airways of the lungs and are used to treat respiratory conditions in which breathing becomes difficult, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The final article in this section covers the use of corticosteroids in the treatment of respiratory conditions, including their use in preventing attacks of asthma. Drugs used for hay fever and other allergic disorders that affect the respiratory system are described elsewhere (see Antiallergy drugs), as are antibiotics used in the treatment of respiratory infections (see Drugs for infections and infestations).
For further information on the structure and function of the respiratory system, see Respiratory System.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.
The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.