Asthma is a problem where the bronchioles (air passages) become oversensitive to environmental triggers leading to inflammation and narrowing of the airways within the lungs along with excess mucus production leading to severe breathing difficulties. The number of asthma cases within the population seems to increase every year, perhaps largely due to increased pollution within our environment. Although there is no quick fix cure for asthma there are a number of simple preventative measures you can take to help manage your asthma such as:
Develop an action plan. With your doctor and health care team, write a detailed plan for taking maintenance medications and managing an acute attack. Then be sure to follow your plan. Asthma is an ongoing condition that needs regular monitoring and treatment. Taking control of your treatment can make you feel more in control of your life in general.
House dust exposure can be lessened by using bare floors, vacuuming frequently, and changing furnace and air cooler filters frequently. You should avoid using feather, wool, or foam bedding. Use polyester pillows and plastic covers over your mattress.
Pollen exposure can be minimized by keeping your windows shut and using central air during the pollen allergy season. Avoid mowing the lawn if you have grass pollen allergy and change your clothes and shower after being outside during this time of year.
Use electric and hot water radiant heaters to provide a cleaner source of heat than “blown air” systems.
Smoke and asthma are a bad mix. Minimize exposure to all sources of smoke, including tobacco, incense, candles, fires, and fireworks. Do not allow smoking in your home or car, and avoid public places that permit smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, get help to quit successfully. Smoking always makes asthma worse.
Diet. Various studies have looked at the supplementation of various antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E, and selenium, in the prevention of allergic diseases. None of these show convincing evidence of prevention. Studies do consistently show benefit of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (as found in fish) in the protection against allergic disease.
Wear a dust mask and gloves when near rodents.
Try and keep a nebuliser or humidifier handy. These will prove to be useful when your chest is feeling tight or at night in cold weather when our chests tend to be at their weakest. If you do not have one of these at home and your chest is tight.
Keep only one bed in the bedroom. Most important, encase box springs and mattress in a dust-proof or allergen-proof cover (zippered plastic). Scrub bed springs outside the room. If a second bed must be in the room, prepare it in the same manner
Although these steps may seem difficult at first, experience plus habit will make them easier. The results — better breathing, fewer medications, and greater freedom from allergy and asthma attacks — will be well worth the effort