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Health and Fitness News

An Ounce of Asthma Prevention

Avoid asthma attacks by taking these steps.

When you or someone you love has asthma, you know how important prevention is. If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, you’ve learned that your cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing are worse at certain times. Maybe you’re more likely to have an asthma attack during the winter, when you’re around your neighbors’ cats, or if you catch a cold. Thankfully, as you know you don’t have to let asthma have the upper hand.

Keeping a diary that tracks your asthma symptoms and the surrounding environment at the time of an attack may help narrow down what’s worsening your symptoms. It also a good idea to have your allergies tested to determine which allergens contribute to your asthma.

Prevention goes a long way in reducing your asthma symptoms and helping you live a full life full of fresh air. Identify your triggers and then take steps to avoid them with the following steps.

Allergy-Proof Your Surroundings

Asthma triggers are different for everybody. What causes a flare-up for you may not affect someone else. But you can’t fight asthma unless you know what sets you off. Once you know your triggers, it’s important to take steps to eliminate them from your environment, whether that’s at home, work, or when traveling.

To reduce dust mites, keep carpets, stuffed animals, and extra pillows out your bedroom. Cover mattresses and pillows with allergy-proof covers. Wash all bedding in hot water once a week. Vacuum and dust your home weekly.

Reduce mold in your home by fixing leaky faucets and running a dehumidifier to keep extra moisture and dampness out of the air. When taking a shower or bath, run the bathroom vent or open an outside window to get rid of moist air that leads to mold.

Have a problem with pet dander and other creature-created triggers? Keep pets out of your bedroom and off the furniture. And be sure to treat for roaches and mice to keep them from ever entering your home.

Cough when around smoke? Most people with asthma do. Smoking should never be allowed in the home and avoid second-hand smoke and wood-burning fireplaces if possible.

You may be surprised to learn that the very items you use to clean are causing an asthma flare-up. If you can’t put your finger on what’s causing your asthma, try to clean your home with all-natural cleaners to eliminate harsh fumes and strong fragrances.

Stay Healthy

Congestion and inflammation from respiratory infections like colds and flu can quickly worsen your asthma. People with asthma are at a higher risk for complications from flu, are more likely to be hospitalized, and have double the chance of getting bacterial pneumonia. Since your regular asthma medications may not be enough to relieve your symptoms during the course of your illness, talk with your doctor about additional medications.

Equally important is to take steps to prevent getting sick, especially during the winter months. Wash your hands frequently; stay away from sick people; don’t touch your mouth, eyes, or nose; and get an annual flu vaccine.

Manage Stress

When you’re anxious and uptight due to stress, your asthma symptoms are likely to flare. Take steps to manage stress in healthy ways. Common ways to beat stress is to get regular exercise, talk with a counselor, spend time relaxing, go out with friends, or escape with a good book.

Check Air Quality

Before exercising outdoors or spending prolonged time outside, check the weather, pollen count, and air quality. Particularly hot, humid, cold, or dry conditions are likely to exacerbate your asthma, so beware! High levels of pollution, smog, or pollen are also triggers for asthma. Stay indoors on days when the weather is extreme, the pollen count is high, or air quality alerts have been issued and breathe a little bit easier.