Asthma Relief Tips

Asthma is the seventh-ranked chronic health condition in the United States and the leading chronic illness of children. It is a chronic inflammatory disease that makes airways (bronchial tubes) particularly sensitive to irritants.

During an asthma attack, tightening of the smooth muscles around the bronchial tubes causes them to become inflamed, narrow inside, and produce excess mucus. This makes it difficult for air to pass in and out of the lungs and decreases the oxygen levels in the blood. A person suffering from an asthma attack has a sensation similar to drowning.

It is currently estimated that as many as 300 million people world wide suffer from asthma, and that number continues to rise.

Here are a few symptoms of asthma:

  • Cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Triggers of asthma

And some triggers:

  • Allergens
  • Irritants such as tobacco smoke, strong odors
  • Weather changes
  • Viral or sinus infections
  • Exercise

People have their own triggers. If you have asthma, you can minimize your symptoms by avoiding the factors that trigger your symptoms and by working with your physician to develop an effective management and treatment plan.

In order to help you, before you decide to go to the doctor, here are a few tips on how to prevent, foresee and minimize the risk of asthma.

Caffeine and Asthma

If you feel an asthma attack coming on and don't have your inhaler handy, try a couple cups of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or chocolate bars. The caffeine will help open your airways.

Controlling Your Asthma

If you find yourself using your quick-relief inhaler to stop an asthma attack more than twice a week, it may be time for a different medication. In fact, if you have to refill your inhaler more than two times a year or are awakened by asthma symptoms two nights or more per week, you also probably need a change.

Correct Inhaler Use

If you use an inhaler to treat your asthma, remember that it's not a breath freshener. You must deeply inhale the medication into your lungs and hold it for three to five seconds before exhaling slowly.

Dust mites

Dust mites can be especially troubling when traveling away from home, take your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover and request down-free pillows if staying in a hotel.

Homemade food

Carry self-injectable epinephrine in case you accidentally eat a food to which you are allergic. Homemade items do not have ingredient lists and can be contaminated with trace amounts of allergenic foods through contact with storage containers, baking sheets and utensils.

Exercising with Asthma

If your asthma is bothered by air pollution, cold or damp air, exercise indoors. A stationary bicycle is a good example of indoor activities. Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf when exercising outdoors in cold weather.

Loving your pet

Decide which areas of the house will become your exclusion zones. I recommend you never allow your pet into at least two rooms, the bedroom and lounge. You may want to add other rooms to the list. If your pet once slept in those rooms, wash as much of the bedding or upholstery as possible and consider buying a new mattress and duvet. Keep the animal's bed in another room, perhaps a utility room or lobby. For a cat, sprinkle some catnip there to make the area seem more attractive. However, if your asthma is severe and triggered by pet allergens the best advice is to find a new home for the animal.

It may not be possible to 100% cure your asthma, but by putting the above into practice you should be able to alleviate it quite considerably.