Reliever inhalers bring short term relief from asthma by relaxing the tight bands of muscle around your airways.

This helps air flow in and out of your lungs more freely. Relievers can help wheezing, coughing or tightness in the chest.

They are only taken when you need them.

Many people rely on their reliever inhaler to feel better immediately, but they do not treat the underlying cause of their asthma (swollen and inflamed airways) by regularly using their preventer.

Relievers don’t have a lasting effect like preventers – their effect wears off in a few hours and they don’t change the swelling in the breathing tube.

Some side effects of reliever medicines include mild shaking, headaches, a racing heart, and restlessness.

The medicine Atrovent is also a reliever, although it relaxes the airway muscle in a different way. It is slower to take effect, however it may give longer relief. It is fairly free of side effects, although it may leave a bitter taste and cause some dryness of the mouth.

Some relievers are available in tablet form, and are used for children who can’t manage inhalers and spacers or when inhaled treatment does not seem to work.

Side effects are more likely than in inhaled medicine, because the medicine is affecting more parts of the body and the dose is higher. Side effects might include a fast heartbeat, tremor, headache, and hyperactivity.