10 Tips on How to Live with Asthma : Nearly 25 million American adults suffer from asthma including 8.4 percent of children. While this condition may be common, it’s rarely easy or stress-free.
For children and the elderly especially, asthma can be a lethal condition if left untreated.
Luckily, there’s an abundance of research in the medical community done on asthma. Doctors know a variety of treatment options. And, there’s a community of other sufferers whom you can learn from.
The things that work for one asthma sufferer might not for another. If you’re wondering how to live with asthma, here are 10 of the most helpful tips.
Keep an Asthma Journal
When you don’t know what your unique triggers are, having asthma can feel unpredictable. One moment you’re okay, and the next moment you’re having an attack.
Keeping an asthma journal helps you understand your triggers so you can avoid them.
For a month, write down your activities each day and asthma level. Include days that feel harder or the ones you have an attack. Compare the days you struggle with the triggers you were exposed to.
Avoid Getting Sick
Having a cold or the flu can make asthma symptoms even worse. During the winter especially, it’s important to avoid getting sick.
One way you can do this is to you get your annual flu shot and other vaccinations. These medicines have been proven to decrease your chances of getting sick.
You should also ensure you wash your hands often, especially when out in public. You don’t want to transfer others’ germs into your body.
Stay Away from Smoke
Smoke is a common trigger for most people with asthma. The chemicals enter your lungs which cause them to tighten and your airways to get inflamed.
If you smoke yourself, there’s no better time than the present to quit. There are lots of online resources to help.
Avoid secondhand smoke at all costs. Don’t let peers smoke in your home or car. Avoid walking past smoking areas or spending time in homes of friends that smoke.
Keep Your Home Clean
Some of the known allergens that trigger asthma can be found in your home. For example, pet dander, dust, mold, and air pollution.
Keeping your house clean is a must when you live with asthma.
Consider doing a full clean once a week of your home. Once a month, do a deep clean that includes all the nitty-gritty spots you normally skip. This includes baseboards, ceiling fans, and vents.
Dry air is a trigger for some asthmatics. If you feel worsened symptoms when the air is drier, add moisture to your home. Getting a specific humidifier for asthmatics can significantly improve your quality of life.
Take Your Medications
If your doctor prescribed long-term medications to treat your asthma, take them. Sure, it can be inconvenient to take daily medications and sometimes you might forget. But, by skipping doses you’re doing a disservice to your body.
There are lots of different drugs that doctors prescribe to asthmatics. The ones your doctor chose for you are unique to your form of asthma.
When you take your medication consistently, they can reduce the number of attacks you have. Not to mention decrease your overall symptoms.
For some asthmatics, overexertion is a trigger for attacks. Usually, this is during intense workouts or physical activity.
Knowing this about yourself, you should avoid overexertion. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t be active. In fact, staying active and being healthy can help your body fight asthma.
You need to find a form of physical activity that doesn’t leave you wheezing. Consider fast walking, yoga, gymnastics, or Pilates. Avoid high-intensity interval training and strenuous cardio.
Buy a Peak Flow Meter
Peak flow meters monitor the speed at which air enters and exits your lungs. When your asthma is triggered by an allergen, your airways get tighter and smaller. This makes the speed of airflow slower.
Your doctor may suggest you get a meter to use at home. This is a super helpful tool in predicting an oncoming asthma attack.
By checking your airflow regularly throughout the day, you can anticipate when your symptoms will get worse. This allows you to take the necessary treatment steps before an attack happens.
Take Precautions When Traveling
Many factors are out of your control when you travel. As an asthmatic, that can be scary. Luckily, there are some things that you control to make your asthma less of a problem.
To start, book hotel rooms that have never had pets and aren’t pet-friendly. Only book rooms in hotels that are smoke-free.
In tropical destinations, drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Wash your hands often and avoid using airplane provided pillow and blankets.
Create an Action Plan
What’s your plan should an asthma attack happen? Do you just hope that you packed your inhaler and are not in the middle of a meeting?
Remove the unpredictability by having an action plan for asthma attacks.
Start by sitting down. Focus on feeling calm and in control. Always carry quick-relief asthma medications with you, including your inhaler.
You should physically move away from the allergen that’s triggering you. And, if possible, sip on a hot caffeinated drink to encourage your airways to open more.
Connect with Your Doctor
Your asthma can change over time, and it likely will. It’s best to have regular appointments with your doctor to track your asthma. Most asthmatics will see their doctor once a year at least.
But, if you notice your asthma getting worse, see your doctor as soon as you can.
They have different resources and medications that can help your changing symptoms. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Interested in Learning More About How to Live with Asthma?
The life of an asthmatic can be stressful and frustrating. You want to experience life, but allergens you can’t always control cause you to struggle.
Each person is different, but many of the tips above on how to live with asthma are helpful to most.
For more ways to improve your health and take care of yourself, check out the Conditions & Diseases section of our Health & Wellness blog.
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Asthma: Diagnosing, Treating and Managing this Condition – Mayo Clinic
10 Tips on How to Live with Asthma
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