Small Steps Add Up to Big Strides in Managing Asthma
Unfortunately, there's no magic cure for asthma. It is a lifelong chronic condition that requires you to master ways to avoid asthma attacks. But this doesn't mean that your respiratory challenges should hold you back from achieving your goals. These small lifestyle changes can make a big impact in helping you manage your asthma effectively.
Managing Asthma at Home
If your asthma is allergic in nature, hidden triggers may be lurking throughout your home. The bedroom is often one of the biggest offenders. To minimize your risks, wash your bedding thoroughly in hot water and use hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers. Remove books, stuffed animals, and accessories that could collect dust and mold. Banish pets from the bedroom. In your kitchen and bathrooms, address any leaks promptly, since dampness can breed mold. Remove area rugs and curtains that can trap allergens throughout your home. Keep your windows closed to prevent seasonal allergens from entering. Throughout the house, run an air filter to remove pollen and other triggers.
Managing Asthma at Work
If you work in an office setting and find that your asthma seems to worsen during the day, make an effort to organize your workspace. For instance, throw out excess papers you don't need and file the rest away to avoid trapped dust from triggering your symptoms. Remove houseplants, since these can be a breeding ground for mold. When co-workers use perfumes or other scented products that worsen your symptoms, explain your situation and ask if they would mind skipping the scent so you can breathe better. Also steer clear of people who are sick, since colds and flus can aggravate your asthma and germs have a way of spreading through small spaces. Be sure to wash your hands often with hot water or use hand sanitizer.
Managing Asthma with Exercise
Engaging in regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and aid with asthma management. This is important, since studies have shown that obesity and asthma often go hand-in-hand. However, many asthmatics find that working out can actually trigger their symptoms. The best way to handle this is to look for activities that won't tax your respiratory system. Yoga, walking, and swimming can be good choices for asthmatics. They can also help to release stress, which is another asthma trigger. Even if you can't make it to the gym, you can try doing some simple meditation exercises to get the same benefits.
In addition to these lifestyle efforts, you'll also need to follow your asthma action plan diligently. By avoiding your triggers, taking your medication as directed and monitoring your breathing capacity on a daily basis, you'll feel better and find that managing your asthma will be easier than ever.
"Living with Asthma." National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. US Department of Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 5 Dec. 2010.
"Managing Asthma/For Parents." Kids Health.org. Nemours. Nov. 2009. Web. 5 Dec. 2010.
"Take Control of Your Asthma." American Lung Association. LungUSA.org, n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.
"Tips to Remember: Asthma Triggers and Management." American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. AAAAI, 2010. Web. 5 Dec. 2010.
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