If you or a family member suffers from asthma, you know how scary a major asthma attack can be. While major attacks are certainly your biggest concern, the milder symptoms of asthma can definitely be a disruptive force in your life. Here, we’ll look at a few simple steps you can take that could help manage your symptoms on a daily basis, which could make major attacks less frequent.
Clear the air
Getting a HEPA air purifier can be an excellent way to remove dust and other allergens from the air in your home. Make sure you buy enough units and position them appropriately to cover as much square footage as possible. You also have to stay on top of keeping the units and their filters clean.
Those with asthma know that cigarette smoke (first- or secondhand) is bad news, but many don’t realize that fireplace smoke and even cooking smoke can irritate airways, too. It’s probably best for asthmatics to avoid wood-burning fireplaces. When cooking, keep stovetop hood exhaust fans running if you have them.
Keeping the humidity level in your home in the 30 to 50% range is ideal for most asthmatics. If you live in an area that’s exceedingly arid, you might benefit from a humidifier since drier air tends to lead to drier and more easily irritated airways. On the flip side, if you live someplace that’s excessively humid, a dehumidifier could help you breathe easier since high humidity provides a great breeding ground for dust mites, mold, and mildew. Speaking of dust mites, keeping them under control is critical to controlling asthma symptoms for many. Wash bedding in hot water (at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit) once a week and vacuum regularly with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
Pets can certainly trigger allergic and asthmatic responses in many people. If you have pets and asthma, it’s essential that you groom your pets daily to help minimize the shedding of hair and dander. Consider wearing a mask if being this close to your pet causes any symptoms at all. Keeping your distance from kitty litter can also help manage your symptoms.
Believe it or not, a hot cup of coffee or tea might help manage asthma symptoms. Caffeine’s chemical structure resembles that of theophylline, a drug often used to relax airway muscles. Just don’t drink caffeine before any pulmonary function testing since it can affect the results. Making sure you get enough magnesium, either from your diet alone or via supplements in addition to diet, has been shown to help control asthma symptoms for many people. Many asthma sufferers have also discovered that certain personal hygiene items, like body washes or even toothpaste, can worsen asthma symptoms. If it seems that you notice any worsening of breathing or an increase in wheezing while getting ready for work or bed, try changing out your personal-care items one at a time and see if one or more of them might be a trigger for you.
While this list certainly doesn’t represent all of things you can do to manage your asthma symptoms and absolutely should not supercede any instructions or advice given to you by your physician, including the taking of prescription medications, they have proven to be effective asthma-management tools for many asthma sufferers.