Asthma is an inflammatory disease that affects the airways, causing symptoms like chronic cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. In the United States, 8.4% of children while 7.6% of adults suffer from asthma.
When you have asthma, not only do your airways become narrow, but it also produces more mucus—making it extremely difficult for you to breathe. For some, asthma is just a minor nuisance; but for others, it can become a life-threatening situation especially if they can no longer breathe.
Although asthma cannot be cured, its symptoms can still be controlled. Asthma can change over time. Thus, children who suffer from asthma often get better once they become an adult. Aside from talking to your doctor, there are several ways you can go about preventing asthma attacks.
Identify the Triggers
The symptoms of asthma can vary from one person to the other and this is also true for their triggers. There are many factors that trigger the symptoms of asthma. For instance, asthma can be induced after engaging in strenuous physical activities and even laughing too much.
Some other triggers include:
- Air pollution
- Cold air
- Cold virus
- Flu virus
- The environment
It is important that you identify the triggers of your asthma so that you can avoid them in the first place. As much as possible, keep track of your symptoms in a journal and add details about the emotional or environmental factors that are associated with the symptoms. Having an asthma diary will help you understand and see which factors or the combination of such factors that led to the attack.
You can also ask your doctor to perform skin allergy testing so that you will find out if there are certain things that may be causing your asthma attack. This is extremely helpful especially if your triggers are not obvious like cockroaches, molds, pollen, and mildew.
Minimize Your Exposure
Once you have determined your asthma triggers, it is crucial that you avoid them or minimize your exposure in effectively managing your condition. For example, if your asthma is likely triggered by cigarette smoke, make sure that you avoid not only cigarette smoke but all forms of smoke in general. These include candles, tobacco, incense, fireworks, and fire.
Now, if your asthma is caused by the cold virus, try your best to stay well by boosting your immune system and avoiding any close contact with people who have the flu or cold. Moreover, make sure that you practice proper hygiene so that your chances of getting the cold virus are reduced.
Asthma-Proof Your Environment and Yourself
Whether you are at home or at work, make sure that you make your environment asthma-proof. For example, remove all possible asthma triggers at home and within your work cubicle. Use hypoallergenic items like pillows and comforters for your bed if your asthma is caused by dust mites. As difficult as it may be, refrain from getting any pets that may leave dander and trigger your asthma.
Remove the carpets in your house because they can harbor dust that can cause asthma. Fixing leaky pipes and faucets can also trigger asthma as they increase the population of mold and mildew in your home by increasing the humidity and microclimate of your house. Opening windows to allow fresh air to flow through the house can also help. But make sure that you don’t do this during the spring season when pollens are abundant.
If you are traveling, you can also asthma-proof yourself by making sure that you remove the chances of being exposed to your triggers. For instance, you can ask for a smoke-free hotel room when booking a hotel or bring your own pillows or bedding in case they provide you with feather pillows that may trigger your asthma.
If you have identified that the flu can trigger your asthma attack, then you should get a flu shot annually to protect yourself against the flu virus. This also protects you from different complications like pneumonia.
Establish an Asthma Action Plan
It is always important to work with your doctor. Your doctor can establish an asthma action plan that you can follow so that you can manage your asthma attack by taking the right steps and medication. Always take your medication as what your doctor prescribed. When you go to your doctor for a visit, make sure that you bring your medications so that your doctor can check if you are using your medication correctly or if there is a need to change the medication or dosage.
While asthma causes a great deal of discomfort, taking these steps and preventing asthma attacks from happening in the first place is your best bet to clear airways. Follow these tips so that you can manage your condition and improve the quality of your life.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Shukla today to set out on a path of preventing asthma attacks and breathing easier every day.