ASTHMA

WHAT IS ASTHMA?

A common, chronic (long term) lung disorder in which inflammation causes the bronchi (airways) to swell and narrow.  Extra mucus is produced creating breathing difficulties.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • Coughing (worse during the night and early morning).

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Chest tightness or pain. 

  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing.

  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT TRIGGERS ASTHMA?

  • Outdoor allergens, such as pollen from grass, trees and weeds.

  • Indoor allergens, such as pet danderdust mites and mold.

  • Certain drugs and food additives.

  • Irritants in the air, such as smoke, chemical fumes and strong odors.

  • Respiratory infections, such as colds, the flu or other related illnesses.

  • Physical activity: Exercise (although people with asthma can benefit from exercise)

  • Stress.

  • Weather conditions, such as cold air or extremely dry, wet or windy weather.

 

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

  • Know and avoid your triggers.  

  • Try a dairy-free trial (cutting it out for one month): food sensitivities can “set off” an immune process in the gut that causes inflammation - dairy is one of the most common culprits.  

  • Ask your doctor if any of the following foods can be triggering your asthma:  Eggs, Soy, Wheat, Shellfish, Sulphite additives (used in food   processing and preparation).

  • Seek out “good bacteria.” Probiotics — supplements containing live bacteria, can boost the immune system in the gut, making it less likely to set off an inflammatory response.

  • Take vitamins, especially Vitamins C, D and E that support your immune system and help control inflammation.   Ask your doctor to perform a simple blood test to check your “D” level and recommend an appropriate dose.

  • Add a fish oil supplement: the Omega-3 Fatty Acids in fish oil help combat inflammation that constricts the airways. Look for one containing two to three grams’ total of Omega 3, or of DHA and EPA combined.

  • Keep your nasal passages clear: use saline spray to clear your nasal passages. This will reduce strain on your airways by helping you breathe easy - and also cut down on post-nasal drip.

  • Breathe steadily: breathing techniques can help with symptoms of asthma, such as hyperventilation or stress.

  • Allergy Shots (ask your doctor).

HOW TO CONTROL ASTHMA ATTACKS DURING SEASON CHANGES [1]

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast for any changes and dress accordingly.

  • Always have the reliever inhaler wherever you go and take it as prescribed by the doctor.

  • Never leave the inhalers in direct sunlight or anywhere that is too hot.

  • Always check with your doctor if you are using the inhaler given properly.

  • Avoid doing exercise out doors during the hottest part of the day, that is, 11am to 3pm.

  • Remain indoors before, during or after a storm.

  • Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

  • While indoors, keep the doors and windows closed.

  • After being outdoors, change your clothing and shower to wash off any pollen.

  • Know the signs and symptoms of hay fever and use therapy provided by the doctor.

  • Write an asthma action plan for yourself.

  • Avoid other asthma triggers.

REFERENCES

  1. Asthma UK [Internet]. Weather: Have you noticed that a sudden change in weather can trigger your asthma symptoms?. United Kingdom: Asthma UK; [updated 2019 Jun; cited 2019 Aug 19]. Available from: https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/weather/.

  2. Severe Asthma Toolkit [Internet]. Severe Asthma Symptoms. Australia: Toolkit; [updated 2019 Feb 11; cited 2019 Sep 09]. Available from: https://toolkit.severeasthma.org.au/severe-asthma/symptoms/.

  3. Gross, D.A. [Internet]. Asthma. New Jersey: Hackensack Sleep Center; [cited 2019 Sep 09]. Available from: https://hackensacksleep.com/asthma/.

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