Asthma is a common respiratory disease that affects millions of people around the world. Although more commonly seen in young children and teens, many adults also do suffer from such condition. Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which the airways narrow and swell. When left untreated, the airways produce mucus, making breathing more difficult. The most common asthma signs and symptoms include wheezing, tight feeling in the chest, difficulty breathing, and coughing.
Current asthma remedies include both non-pharmacological and pharmacological management. When it comes to non-pharmacological treatment, prophylaxis is the primary concern. In this approach, a patient is educated about the causes of asthma and the possible ways to avoid these causes.
Causes or Triggers of Asthma
The majority of people think of asthma in terms of episodes or attacks. The truth is, asthma is always present in affected individuals, but symptoms may be dormant until “triggered,” that is, unless something happens to aggravate the asthma. Asthma triggers do not usually bother most asthmatics when in fact they can make inflamed airways worse. The following are some factors that are known to cause or bring about asthma symptoms or make symptoms a whole lot worse.
• Exposure to allergens such as dust, mold, pollen, animal dander, and some foods
• Air irritants such as smoke, dirt, gases, paints, perfumes, and other strong odors or fumes
• Respiratory infections (bacterial and viral)
• Weather conditions, especially cold, windy weather
• Physical activity (also known as exercise-induced asthma)
• Strong emotions and stress
• Some medications
• Other health problems such as obesity and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Asthma Remedies: Ways to Avoid Triggers
While it is impossible to make your home completely allergen- or irritant-free, there are several things you can do to reduce your family’s exposure to triggers. Here are some tips that may help.
• Do not smoke or allow anyone else smoke in your home. Avoid smoke-filled areas.
• Pollen exposure can be reduced by staying at home with windows closed and with air-conditioning on during times of high pollen counts. Times vary with allergens, so ask your allergist.
• Reduce exposure to dust mites by covering mattresses and pillows with special allergy-proof encasings, washing the beddings in hot water every week, removing stuffed toys from the bedroom, and vacuuming and dusting regularly. Other measures, which are more difficult on the budget, include reducing the humidity in the house using a dehumidifier or removing carpeting in the house, especially in the bedroom. Make sure that bedrooms located in basements are not be carpeted.
• If allergic to pet dander, the only truly effective way of reducing exposure to animal allergens is to avoid having one in the home. If this is not possible, be sure to keep them out of the bedroom and consider using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in the bedroom.
• Mold infestation is often due to high levels of indoor moisture, usually resulting from water damage due to roof and pipe leakages as well as flooding. Fix any sources of water leakage. To control indoor humidity, use exhaust fans in high-moisture areas such as the bathrooms and kitchen. Adding a dehumidifier also helps. Immediately clean mold-contaminated areas with anti-mold agent and water.
• Avoid indoor irritants by using unscented cleaning products and avoiding air fresheners or scented candles.
You can avoid elements that trigger an asthma attack or episode in many ways. Have an action plan which includes the above tips and which allows you to estimate whether an asthmatic member of the family is doing well, getting worse, or is in a state where he or she is in need of emergency care.