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Living with 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 dander, dust mites and mold.
  • Certain drugs and food additives.
  • Irritants in the air, such as smoke, chemical fumes and strong odours.
  • 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 a 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 properly.
  • Avoid doing exercise outdoors during the hottest part of the day, that is, 11 am to 3 pm.
  • 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.

VIDEOS

Medical 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/.

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