Living With And Prevention Of Asthma Attacks

Living With And Prevention Of Asthma Attacks

Asthma is a disease affecting your lungs. Asthma causes wheezing, short- ness of breath, chest pain, and coughing. In many instances, these symptoms appear mostly at night or early morning. Some people with asthma have these symptoms daily. People with asthma often have asthma attacks. An asthma attack occurs when something bothers your lungs. Airways become swollen and inflamed which makes it hard to breathe. These attacks can be mild, moderate, or severe. Even though you may feel fine, an asthma attack can occur anytime. Asthma affects 25 million people in the United States, including 7 million children. Many children outgrow their asthma. For others, it becomes a lifelong condition. Most children develop symptoms before the age of 5. More boys have asthma than girls. In adults, there is no difference between men and women.

Living and Prevention With Asthma Attacks

Practical ways to cope with asthma, as well as good ideas for preventing an asthma attack.

Although at this stage there is no cure for asthma sufferers, there are a number of ways to avoid an attack and control the disease to a point where it is not debilitating. In fact many who have asthma still are active sports people, who play cricket, rugby, tennis, horse riding, and occasionally some dive though they need a medical certificate to do so. There are numerous ways to prevent an attack and I have used the following suggestions in my own home where three out of the four occupants are asthma sufferers.

Living With And Prevention Of Asthma Attacks

Make sure that you take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Many people fear that the medication is addictive or will weaken your lungs, thereby making your asthma worse. It doesn't have any adverse effect on your lungs or breathing over the long term. Keep your asthma pumps with you, so that the moment you feel your chest tightening you can take your medication and stop an impending attack. Ensure your medication is with you when you are engaging in sport or gym of any sort, as a lot of attacks happen after sport and can be avoided by the correct administration of medication.


Learning as much as possible about asthma will help you to properly manage the condition. You should know what causes your symptoms, how to prevent them, and how to use your medicines correctly. Educate yourself about controlling symptoms and reducing asthma attacks, and be aware of barriers that may prevent you from doing so. Never hesitate to ask your physician for assistance with any issues that may arise.

Collect data about yourself on a regular basis. Record asthma symptoms and their triggers, and use a peak flow meter to measure and record how well your lungs are working. Information gathered over time can be used to track changes and progress. You will become more informed about how your body responds to the environment, and you will be quicker to spot problems and prevent attacks.

The Asthma Action Plan

You and your doctor should design your personal asthma action plan. The plan should consist of instructions for medication, a list of asthma triggers, responses to worsening symptoms, and benchmarks to indicate the level of your asthma control. Typical plans also include instructions for dealing with emergencies such as asthma attacks. A plan is only useful if it is followed, and successful asthma management is no exception.

Avoid Triggers of Asthma

Identifying and avoiding asthma triggers will help you to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle with asthma. The following list discusses common triggers and suggests ways to handle them:

Living With And Prevention Of Asthma Attacks

  • Tobacco smoke - avoid inside and outside of the home
  • Air pollution - try antihistamine medications and staying indoors
  • Pollen - try antihistamine medications and staying indoors
  • Animal dander - keep pets outside, wash them often, find them a new home
  • Viral infections - see a physician
  • Heavy exercise - lower the impact of your exercise routine and consult a doctor
  • Stress - many methods of stress reduction exist, including breathing, meditation, progressive relaxation, and exercise.
  • Dry or cold air - wear a scarf over your mouth and nose during winter months
  • Dust mites - keep sheets, blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys clean
  • Sulfites in dried food and wine - avoid foods with allergens
  • Combustion particles - minimize exposure to combustion particles and gases, change furnace filters, and do not use a gas stove to heat the home
  • Deodorants, perfumes, air fresheners, paint, and cleaners - avoid if possible
Asthma should not stop anyone from leading an active, healthy life. The chronic condition requires proper long-term care, active management, and adherence to an asthma action plan. Asthma can be a stressful condition to manage, and stress can even trigger asthma attacks. Asthmatics should strive to reduce stress as much as possible and learn to cope with the challenges and frustrations of living with asthma in a positive way.

An important part of managing asthma is adopting a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fats and sugars, get plenty of res,exercise regularly, work on managing stress, and, of course, do not smoke.

Living with asthma can be tricky, especially in young children. But with the right attitude and a bit of common sense, the disease need not rule your life.

Preventing Asthma Attacks in Kids

How can I help my child avoid asthma triggers?

While medications fight your child's disease, you can do your part by helping her avoid the things that irritate her lungs and trigger attacks.

One of the worst offenders is tobacco smoke. (See our primer on Smoking and Asthma for more information.) Children with asthma who live in smoke-filled homes have more wheezing fits, need more medications, and make more trips to the emergency room than other asthma patients their age. If you have to smoke, take it outside. Better yet, set a fine example and quit for good.

Living With And Prevention Of Asthma Attacks

Many children with asthma have allergies that can set off attacks. The dust mites that live in pillows and mattresses are common culprits. You may be able to improve your child's breathing dramatically by washing bed linens and blankets once a week, encasing pillows and mattresses in zippered airtight covers, and removing carpet from the bedroom.

Cats can also aggravate asthma. If your child is allergic to cat dander, ask yourself if you really need a cat in your life. If you (or your child) can't live without one, keep it out of your child's bedroom and bathe your cat regularly. Keep the kitty litter box in a room that your child doesn't frequent, and don't forget to have your child wash his hands after he's played with his beloved feline.

You can control pollen allergies by keeping your windows closed during pollen season. You might also consider installing a special allergy filter in your air conditioner, though the jury is still out on how effective these filters are at reducing allergic reactions. If your child is allergic to molds, clean damp areas frequently and consider buying a dehumidifier to keep the air dry.

If it's impossible to avoid dander, pollen, or other things that cause allergic reactions, talk to your allergist about immunotherapy. This treatment involves small injections of the proteins that trigger the allergies. After a while, your child may become less allergic to the proteins.

It's generally wise to avoid asthma triggers, but there's one big exception to the rule. If your child suffers asthma attacks during exercise, DON'T encourage her to quit exercising. As already mentioned, a bronchodilator taken before a workout can prevent an attack. She may need to take a break on days when her asthma is particularly troublesome, but usually she'll be able to play and run just as hard as any other kid.

No matter how careful you are, your child may still have an attack every once in a while. A cold virus, for instance, may sneak into his airways and cause a wheezing fit. The ultimate goal is to make the attacks so rare that they never slow down a child's life. And when you, your child, and your child's doctor work together, that goal is well within reach.