Do’s and Dont’s for Asthma Control

The key to proper asthma control is to focus on persistently managing the condition, rather than simply wait for the arrival of symptoms, and then get hassled for the need for relief. So simply follow some elementary do’s and don’ts to keep asthma in control:

Do’s for asthma:

* Remember to be in touch with a doctor to take care of emergencies; and take medications on time and regularly.
* Keep all “controller medications” within reach. These include inhaled corticosteroids, bronchodilators and leukotriene modifiers. You may be required to take such medicines regularly even if feeling well.
* Try to identify and control your asthma attack triggers. Once identified, avoid exposure to the trigger.
* Also learn to recognize the early signs of an attack. Many people benefit from measuring their lung function daily with a peak flow meter which measures the greatest amount of air one can exhale. This helps identify when breathing problems are starting and when to take medicine to prevent a full-fledged attack.
* Do maintain proper cleanliness inside your house. Regularly wash bedding, including pillows, quilts, bedspreads. Try to keep moisture minimum.Ensure a high level of ventilation by opening windows where possible
* If pregnant, and also prone to asthma, be extra careful to keep asthma well-controlled so as to ensure adequate oxygen for the foetus. An asthmatic woman should be in constant touch with her doctor.
* Control your environment – environmental triggers, such as dust mites and pet dander, can be hazardous if you have asthma. Learn from various study material on the internet or from the library on how to avoid triggers.
* Certain practices, such as meditation or yoga especially pranayam exercises which involve deep breathing help control asthma to a large extent. One can try them out.
* Take care of your diet. Foods such as dairy products, shrimps, shellfish, certain nuts which trigger asthma should be avoided. Citrus fruits, particularly the grapefruit, is of great benefit as it aids in clearing the accumulated mucus in the bronchial tube; and also in bringing new mucus forming elements to the tubes by the blood-stream.
* There is no special diet for disease, but the best is two to three light meals a day with the simplest combination of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals and milk. This diet should definitely include citrus fruits, berries and melons, but white sugar should be strictly avoided and brown sugar to be used sparingly.
* Make it a point that if you have asthma, your lungs get plenty of fresh air. However, it is important that you avoid chilling. Warmth of the body is important to prevent an internal congestion that may aggravate an attack. Clothing should be loose at all points.
* Moderate exercises are beneficial. No specific exercises are required, but all active sports that the patient can indulge in will do – especially general setting-up exercises that involve deep breathing and use of the arm and chest muscles should be used. Heat by any continuous means to the upper spine or the upper chest also give relief. The drinking of an abundance of hot water is relaxing and often helps to abort or shorten an attack.

Don’ts in asthma:

* Do not deny the fact that you have asthma. Accept it and take medications to control it. Asthma is a chronic disease, not to be neglected – do not forget or refuse to take the medications that can control it.
* Not following an asthma treatment program is not a good choice. If people don’t take their medications it can lead to asthma flares and may even endanger their lives. In fact, deaths from asthma have actually increased in recent years. This is mainly because many people, especially teens avoid using inhalers or other medications.
* Don’t abandon life-saving tools like daily preventive medicines and peak flow meters if they’re a part of your treatment plan, even if you’re feeling absolutely fine with no symptoms. Remember, asthma is like a dormant volcano, which can erupt any time without a warning. So, its best to be prepared.
* Avoid mucus-forming foods – All mucus-forming foods such as dairy foods, chocolates, refined white flour, bread, cakes, and white sugar are best avoided in asthma. This is because excess mucus further blocks the airways and thus aggravates the condition.
* Do not smoke. Cigarette smoke is a common cause of asthma aggravation not only for yourself, but maybe for someone around you. Secondhand smoke is a common trigger of asthma attacks. If someone in your family smokes, talk to him about quitting.
* I t is necessary to avoid cold applications until considerable general improvement has been secured. Many attacks have been aggravated by cold applied to the chest or upper back.

If you have been diagnosed with asthma, it isn’t your fault. It can be easily controlled, you just need to be a bit cautious, alert and regular. With a well managed asthma, a person’s quality of life can be as good as that of a normal person.