According to the World Health Organisation, more than 339 million people are living with asthma globally. Asthma is a chronic condition where the airway swells up and becomes narrow. This makes it difficult for the person to breathe. A person having an asthma attack can be seen gasping for breath, coughing and wheezing. Asthma patients need to manage their condition all the time, even when they don’t feel any symptoms. There are various things that you can do to manage your asthma better.
1. Know your triggers
Once you identify your triggers, you will be able to avoid them better and reduce your chances of getting an asthma attack in the future. These triggers can be some allergens in the air which increase especially during the spring season, also called the allergy season for asthmatics. Common asthma triggers are vigorous physical activity, infections like the flu or a common cold, allergens (pollen, dust mites), smoking and certain medications.
2. Reduce stress
It has been proven in many studies that stress is one of the common triggers for many people with asthma. When the body is in stress, it releases cortisol hormone which increases the breathing and heart rate. Take the help of meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga and even relaxation massages to get rid of the stress.
3. Quit smoking
If you know you have asthma but you are still smoking, then you must quit as soon as possible as quitting smoking can decrease the severity and frequency of your symptoms. Also, smoking reduces the effectiveness of asthma medication.
If you have asthma but do not smoke, try to avoid such places where you can get exposed to second-hand smoke as it can trigger or worsen your symptoms.
4. Take the right medications
There are a variety of medicines available to treat asthma. Each person’s asthma is different and your doctor and healthcare team will work with you to set up a personalized plan. Many people think they can skip their asthma preventer (controller) medications when they don’t feel any symptoms – that’s not true.
5. Always have an emergency asthma plan
You can never predict the occurrence of an asthma attack. One must have a plan on how to deal with such a situation without panicking. You must write down your necessary medicine and appliances that you may need at that point. This makes it easy for your family members (or whoever is near you) to help you better in such a situation. If your child has asthma, you must ensure that all their teachers, counsellors and other people around them have a copy of the emergency plan. Your asthma plan should include the following things:
- When and how do you take your medicine
- What medicines are needed in case the symptoms of asthma start worsening
- When to seek emergency medical help
- Contact of the emergency personnel
For more information, read our article on Asthma.
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