How to Prevent Asthma

Asthma is a medical illness characterized by narrowing and swelling of airways along with production of extra mucus. This can cause difficulty of breathing, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and other symptoms. Asthma can be minor for some, but is a major illness in many that can interfere with daily activities of life. A life-threatening asthmatic attack may occur in some patients. The symptoms of asthma can be controlled. Since, the signs and symptoms of asthma may change with each attack, it is imperative that you discuss with your doctor about your particular symptoms and adjust treatment as needed.

How to Prevent Asthma

There is no cure available for asthma but it can be prevented. Here are the main methods of preventing asthma.

1. Limit Triggers

  • If you are allergic to pet dander, it is recommended to not keep a pet. But the risk of developing asthma can be reduced if children are exposed to pets at a very young age. Moreover, kids who live with two or more pets have a reduced likelihood of reacting to allergens.
  • If you suffer from exercise-induced asthma or you are planning to do vigorous exercises or do exercise in humid, cold or dry environments, it is important to follow the advice of your doctor regarding asthma treatment, which is usually done by using an inhaler with the drug albuterol as ingredient.
  • Asthma sufferers who also have allergies to pollen or pollution should limit their activities outside when the pollution index or the pollen count is high.

2. Purify Your Environment

You can make your home allergen free such as pollen, mold, dust, mites, etc. by using air filters. HEPA or High efficiency particulate air filters are used in the best systems. These systems can clear 99.9% of the air pollutants, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. You should also use humidifiers in your home. Humidifiers increase the moisture in the air using water vapor. Humidifiers can help in easing the symptoms of asthma in some sufferers.

3. Get Allergy Treatment

How to prevent asthma? Keep your allergy at bay! If you suffer from both asthma and allergies, it is important to reduce your exposure to allergens as it can increase the susceptibility of having an asthma attack.

  • Minimize your exposure to all types of smoke such as tobacco, candles, incense, fireworks and fire. Make your home or car a smoking-free zone and also avoid public places where smoking is allowed. Quit smoking because asthma is always made worse by smoking.
  • Take specific measures to allergy proof your environment at work, home or while travelling. This way you can reduce your risk of having asthma. For example, if you have to travel, you should ask the hotel for a smoking-free room and even get your own pillow and beddings because the down comforters and feather pillows hotel provides can have lots of dust mites hide in them, causing asthma attacks.
  • You can also consider getting allergy shots or immunotherapy to prevent symptoms of allergy. Allergy shots can help in preventing or worsening of asthma symptoms. In this case, a small dose of allergens is injected into your skin regularly. And after sometimes, your body may get used to it and react less aggressively when exposed.

4. Get a Flu Shot

Getting infected with the flu virus makes the signs and symptoms of asthma worse over a period of several days to even weeks; hence, you should avoid being in close contact to individuals who suffer from a cold or flu attack. Take precautions such as washing your hands frequently to avoid infection. Besides, it is important to get a flu vaccine every year.

The chances of having flu complications including pneumonia are also increased in asthma patients. Flu can also increase the incidence of hospitalization in asthma sufferers. Moreover, adults of age greater than 19 years should receive a pneumonia vaccine, referred to as pneumovax once in every 5 to 10 years. The chances of having pnemococcal pneumonia are increased two times in patients suffering from asthma.

5. Take Preventative Medicines

Taking preventative medicines on a regular basis helps in preventing attacks. Medicines may be taken as an inhaler, orally or through an injection. The common medicines used to prevent asthma are:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids block inflammation just like natural hormones. They have long term adverse use, therefore, not recommended for longer use.
  • Leukotriene modifiers work by inhibiting the effect of leukotrienes – chemicals released by white blood cells causing constriction of air passages.
  • Beta agonists are used to prevent asthma attacks triggered by sports activities and exercise. These medicines work by dilating the air passages.

6. Maintain Healthy Weight

How to prevent asthma? Maintain healthy body weight. Obesity can aggravate asthma; therefore, maintain healthy weight by following a diet and exercise regimen. BMI or body mass index is used to define obesity. A person with BMI between 25 and 29.9 falls in the category of overweight and a person with BMI more than 30 falls in the category of obese. Decrease the number of calories you ingest and increase the amount of calories you burn. Keep check of your portion size. Eat slowly, chewing and savoring every bit of your food and stop eating upon feeling full.

7. Do Regular Exercise

According to research, exercise imparts a positive effect on asthma; therefore, regular exercise as tolerated should be done. Persons having exercise-induced asthma should avoid exercising in very dry, humid or cold environments. The common exercises that are good for asthma sufferers include cycling, walking, hiking and swimming. Yoga is good to increase fitness. It also helps to regulate your breathing. It is recommended to always keep your inhaler handy at all times. You can use your inhaler in case you feel that the workout will bring an attack.

8. Other Preventive Methods

Apart from the tips discussed above, there are some other methods that can be used to answer the question how to prevent asthma:

  • Discuss a detailed plan for managing your asthma attack and taking medicines with your health care team and doctor. Ensure that you follow the plan. Asthma is a chronic condition that requires regular treatment and monitoring.
  • Be aware of your breathing. You can learn the beginning signs such as wheezing, slight coughing or shortness of breath of an impending asthma attack. However the function of your lungs may be reduced before you experience any symptom or sign, it is recommended to measure and record your peak airflow regularly with a peak air flow meter that can be used at home.

Note: If you are relying more on your quick-relief inhaler including albuterol, you have uncontrolled asthma. Visit your doctor and discuss adjusting your treatment.

 
 
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