It’s not always easy to prevent health issues from lowering our quality of life as we age. Some chronic conditions, however, only require a few lifestyle adjustments to manage. Because asthma attacks make it difficult to breathe and can be life-threatening, the best way to deal with this chronic lung disease is to take measures to prevent attacks from happening. By taking the following steps at home, you may be able to reduce the probability of an attack:
1. Form an Asthma Management Plan With Your Doctor and Stick to It
Many people are only familiar with rescue inhalers. While these are very important during an attack, they are not the only medication your doctor can recommend. Instead, the doctor can work with you to form an asthma management plan that includes an inhaled corticosteroid you can use daily. Long-acting bronchodilators may also be prescribed for daily use, according to the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. These drugs can help to open your windpipe and lungs, making it easier to breathe.
2. Avoid Colds and the Flu
According to the American Lung Association, respiratory infections are the leading cause of asthma attacks. This includes colds, the flu, and even allergies and sinus infections. For this reason, it’s best to avoid anyone who has respiratory symptoms or who might be sick. Washing your hands frequently and getting a flu vaccine every year can also help to reduce your risk.
3. Keep Tabs on the Humidity in Your Home
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping the humidity in your home between 25 and 60 percent year-round. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in the winter months and a dehumidifier to remove air in the summer months. If the air is too dry, your respiratory tract can become irritated. You may develop a dry cough, nose bleeds or even have an asthma attack. If the air is too moist, common asthma triggers like dust mites and mold may thrive.
4. Reduce Common Airborne Triggers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an air purification system with a filter that captures your primary triggers. This will reduce the amount of dust, pet dander, mold, or smoke in the air and make it less likely you will suffer a flareup. Of course, it is still important to have someone clean your home regularly and to avoid living in a home with these triggers when possible.
5. Try a Hot Drink
It’s probably no surprise to you that tea with lemon and honey soothes a sore throat and can help make it seem easier to breathe. This has been a common treatment for coughs and stuffy noses for years. Have you ever thought about coffee, though? A recent study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that your respiratory tract may function better for up to four hours after drinking a single cup of caffeinated coffee. In fact, caffeine is structured similarly to theophylline, which is used to treat asthma and other lung diseases.
The key to living with asthma is to keep the lung disease well managed. These five steps can help you get started. Consult your doctor or local chapter of the American Lung Association for more information on preventing attacks.