According to the World Health Organization estimates, roughly 235 million people suffer from asthma. It is the most common chronic condition among children, but it can affect everyone, regardless of their age, gender, or economic status. If you or any of your family members are experiencing the symptoms of this disease, you should know that a large number of asthma triggers thrive within the walls of your home, including pet dander, dust mites, droppings from mice and cockroaches, and tobacco smoke. The impact of these air pollutants can be severe. If you are just facing this condition, it is important to be familiarized with the steps to take for protection, monitoring, and prevention.
1. Follow an asthma action plan
An asthma action plan is a personalized program that helps you recognize the warning signs of an upcoming asthma attack and thus knows what to do if it occurs. The key thing about the attack is to remain calm, and this strategy can help you keep your cool. You need to work with your doctor to create a management plan which will include directions about what to do for specific signs, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, tightness in the chest, wheezing, and coughing. It is also vital to share your action plan and its location with the people surrounding you so that they would know what to do in case of an emergency.
2. Use a peak flow meter
A peak flow meter follows your lung function while you are at home. It is a hand-held, portable device which measures the quality of air-flow through your lungs. It can signal you when there is about to be an attack, monitor the recovery from the attack, and identify triggers in the environment. If your doctor recommends the use of this device, you will get clear instructions.
3. Always keep an inhaler on hand
An inhaler can provide you with a quick relief when a symptom of an asthma attack occurs. It will most commonly be an albuterol inhaler, which is actually a quick-acting bronchodilator. Still, medications such as this shouldn’t be used without precaution. They are not recommended for repeat use, and if you feel the urge to use them several times a week to control your symptoms, you need to speak to your doctor about receiving another treatment.
4. Keep your interior as safe as possible
As we mentioned, your home can hide a number of potential asthma triggers. Although it is difficult to control them fully, there are some things you can do to make your home safer than it is now:
- Carpets are fertile ground for dust and, therefore, dust mites. They are also difficult to maintain. Remove all the carpets from your home (especially from the bedroom), and replace them with laminate, wood, or tile flooring.
- Vacuum and mop the floor at least twice a week. Wear a mask while doing so. Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
- Find the best air purifier for eliminating dust mites and other air pollutants. These units are usually equipped with a HEPA filter, too.
- Change the filters on such machines on a regular schedule.
- Wash the bedding once a week in hot water.
- Eliminate mold in moist areas (e.g., bathrooms and kitchens).
- Don’t allow your pets inside your home, or at least have some pets-free zones.
- Practice pest control.
- Don’t allow smoking indoors.
5. Identify your environmental triggers
Every asthma patient reacts to different substances that can worsen asthma symptoms or cause an attack. Some of the usual triggers are tobacco smoke, air pollution, pet dander, dust, and some foods. Learn to identify the substances you react to, and try to avoid them.
6. Maintain a healthy weight
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity can be a risk of developing asthma, and it can worsen the symptoms, which often leads to an increase in the use of medicaments, and hospitalization. Nurturing healthy eating habits and preparing well-balanced meals is essential for disease control.
7. Take precautions during exercises
Physical activities are vital for maintaining healthy body weight. However, they can be problematic for asthma patients. This doesn’t mean you should give up on being fit; just that you need to take precautionary measures, and be extra careful during workouts. This includes using an inhaler before participating in sports and keeping it with you, as well as avoiding engagement in physical activities when the weather is too hot or too cold. If you still go out to work out when the temperatures are low, you can warm up the air by breathing through a scarf.
Finally, you should remember that asthma is a self-managed condition, which means that even though you get instructions and prescribed medications from your doctor, you are the one who carries out the plan every day. These tips will help you cope with asthma in a safe manner.
Disclaimer: All images are provided by the author.
About The Author:
Faith is a writer, seeking beauty everywhere she goes and finding it in art, nature, family, work, and home. Passionate about just living life to the fullest, she’s into home decor and healthy lifestyle, trying to be the best version of herself and make her surroundings match.