Coughing, wheezing and not being able to catch your breath is a frightening experience to go through. While you can’t always prevent asthma attacks, there are things you can do to greatly reduce their frequency and severity. Here are five tips for helping prevent asthma attacks before they start.
1- Avoid Smoke
Obviously, if you have asthma you know you don’t want to be around anyone who smokes cigarettes, even if they are in another room of the house. However, kindling and smoke from fireplaces, wood stoves and campfires can be major irritants as well. It is best to avoid being around any of them, but if you can’t resist using the cozy fireplace, at least make sure the system is airtight and well ventilated so less debris goes into the room.
2- Don’t Overexert Yourself
It isn’t comforting to know you have limitations, but over-exertion can be a major contributing factor to asthma attacks. For example, if you have to make multiple trips up and down the stairs, then pace yourself and relax a few minutes after each trip. If you like to exercise, stop when you feel yourself breathing heavily. If your limitations bother you, ask your doctor about breathing techniques you can use to do more without triggering your asthma.
3- Eliminate Dust
Even the best housekeepers in the world have hidden nooks and crannies in their home where dust bunnies pile up. Dust is a major irritant to people with asthma. Be sure to regularly clean places most people do not always think of like behind the refrigerator, behind curtains and any other place that dust might be hiding. Yes, it adds a lot of work to your house cleaning routine, but it will cut down on your asthma attacks.
4- Stay Out of the Cold
The winter is a very bad time for asthmatics to be outside because the cold air almost literally “takes their breath away”. If you do go out during the winter months, wear a scarf or mask to cover your mouth. Try to limit your time outdoors as much as possible. In the warmer months, if you are using your car’s air conditioner, set it to recirculate instead of bringing in outside air and all the irritants that go with it. It is also a good idea to shut off the vents that directly faces you.
5- Cleaning Products
Some cleaning products have strong fumes that can trigger an attack, like ammonia. You should try to switch to less irritating cleaning products. If you can find an alternative product you like, then make sure the room you are cleaning is well ventilated and limit your exposure to the fumes for as little time as possible. Don’t try to use too many of these products at the same time. Use one and then take a good, long break before moving on to the next.
Dealing with asthma is not fun, but it is manageable. The best thing you can do is to listen to your body. If you feel short of breath or tightness in your chest, then don’t panic; just calmly get your inhaler, use it and relax until the symptoms subside. Most people with asthma find that preventing or decreasing the amount of attacks is just a simple management process.
About the Author: Robert Stephonic is a health advocate who spends a great deal of time educating the public about common medical conditions, including asthma, yeast infections, and heart disease. His favorite websites for information include yeastinfection.org and the National Institute of Health.