Six Easy Ways to Control Your Asthma
Asthma is an acquired hypersensitivity to a foreign substance or event that causes a narrowing of the bronchial airways in the lungs. Asthma attacks are triggered by a combination of factors such as allergens, pollutants, viral infections, exercise, fatigue and changes in the temperature or weather. Caring for an asthmatic patient involves avoidance, prediction, and medication.
Because asthma attacks can be life threatening, we strongly encourage people to utilize techniques that help avoid triggers and predict attacks, and not to rely solely on medication. The steps are listed below in approximate order of importance.
- Monitor daily lung capacity with a peak flow monitor. Peak flow meters measure the capacity of the lungs breathing capability. A reduction in breathing capability suggests that an attack may be coming. By using a Peak flow meters to monitor daily peak flow, you can recognize when breathing capacity is reduced and thus have advance warning of an asthma attack.
- Use a Spacer to administer drugs in metered dose inhalers. Spacers improve the effectiveness of inhaled medication. The spacer attaches to the metered dose inhaler. Within the chamber of theSpacer, the medication mixes with the air. Many studies have shown that the amount of medication inhaled increases dramatically when Spacers are used compared to when spacers are not used.
- Administer necessary medications with a convenient nebulizer/compressor. Some asthma medications are designed to be administered using a nebulizer/compressor. While most nebulizer/compressors will effectively deliver the medicine, some products present substantial advantages in terms of convenience and ease-of-use which dramatically increase the likelihood of the asthma patient actually using them when they are needed. Issues such as size, weight, and portability may impact whether the nebulizer/compressor is available when an attack occurs.
- Run a HEPA air purifier to avoid inhaling allergens or pollutants. For people whose asthma attacks are triggered by exposure to allergens or pollutants, avoiding those substances will help reduce the frequency of their attacks. HEPA air purifiers do a great job of cleaning allergens and pollutants out of the air. By placing one in a bedroom, office, or other frequently used room, you can significantly reduce your exposure to these triggers.
- Use a face mask to avoid inhaling harmful particulates or cold air. There are times when there is no alternative to being in an area full of asthma triggers. It could be an outdoor trip during a time of high pollen counts, a job which requires working in a polluted environment, or simply an outdoor commute in frigid temperatures. When you know you cannot avoid exposure to your asthma trigger, you can wear a mask that will protect the air you breathe. A variety of masks are available, from simple lightweight masks to masks with HEPA filters.
- Use Dust Mite Covers to encase your mattresses, box springs and pillows. For people whose asthma attacks are triggered by their dust mite allergy, this step is especially important. Dust Mite Covers are the number one weapon in the battle against dust mite allergies. (See the Dust Mite Allergy Solution Guide for additional suggestions.) To keep dust mites out of the bedding, you can cover your mattress, pillow, and box spring with a fabric that has pores small enough to keep dust mites and the waste products out. There are a variety of dust mite covers specially designed for this purpose.