What Other Tools Can I Use For Monitoring Asthma Control
Peak Flow Meter
Sometimes doctors recommend a peak flow meter a handheld device that measures how well air moves out of your lungs. A peak flow meter, when used every day, can spot reduced airflow before you notice the signs and symptoms of an asthma episode.
Peak flow meter readings can help you monitor your asthma control. But they are just one tool. Your peak flow meter reading is not the only indicator of asthma control. Always follow your Asthma Action Plan.
Doctors use pulse oximeters to measure how much oxygen your blood is carrying. Some people with asthma may experience a drop in their oxygen levels in their blood.
Pulse oximeters you can buy online and use at home are not as accurate as medical grade devices. Monitoring your blood oxygen levels with pulse oximeters is not a recommended part of home management of asthma.
Lung Function Tests
Your allergist or pulmonologist may use different lung function tests to assess your asthma control. Learn more about the tests used to diagnose and monitor asthma.
Stay Calm And Get Help
If someone around you or you yourself, has an asthma attack, always remain calm. In such a situation, being calm helps us gain better control of our breathing. Never leave the person alone but be with them and help to calm them down.
Meanwhile, call for help! Asthma can recur and you would want to see a doctor if this is your first asthma attack. If the person is getting agitated, unable to speak in full sentences, and breathing fast even at rest, chances are he/she is having moderate to severe asthma. Seek help from a healthcare provider immediately!
Practicing Buteyko Breathing Technique
This is also a system of breathing exercises. Buteyko Breathing Technique focuses on breathing out through the nose and not the mouth. Breathing out through the mouth can dry up the mouth and the airways very fast resulting in more problems. Practising and using BBT also makes you less prone to suffering from respiratory infections. Buteyko Breathing Technique can also be instrumental in decreasing your asthma symptoms with the help of slow and gentle breathing through the nose.
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Asthma Treatment Without Inhaler
Asthma symptoms can start out as a little cough before you find yourself wheezing and struggling to breathe. You are not alone in this affliction. More than 18 million Americans live with this condition the bronchi of the lungs become inflamed and constricted, leading to poor respiratory function and wheezing. In severe cases, a person may die from asphyxiation. The most common treatment for asthmatics is the inhaler. Oral medications are given as well to control asthma symptoms such as airway inflammation and acute attacks. Medication helps to keep asthma patients out of the hospital as much as possible.
How Do I Open My Airways
If you have asthma, the best way to keep your airways open is to use your asthma medications as directed by your doctor. These medications can open your airways using a variety of mechanisms, including relaxing airway muscles or reducing inflammation.
Long-term control medications can help prevent the airways from narrowing and leading to asthma symptoms. When asthma symptoms do occur, quick-relief medications like your rescue inhaler can help to quickly open your airways.
In addition to using your asthma medications as directed, some other things that may help to open your airways include practicing breathing exercises or trying steam inhalation.
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Home Remedies For Asthma That Dont Work
Some alternative medicine tactics dont have any beneficial effects on asthma symptomsand may even be harmful. For example, while some say eucalyptus or lavender open airways, they can trigger breathing problems for asthmatics in the same way a strong scent or cleaning fumes might. The same goes for certain natural supplements, such as bee pollen. These over-the-counter pills could trigger allergic symptoms for some people.
Dr. Meadows doesnt recommend over-the-counter products as part of an asthma treatment plan and specifically advises against using cough drops, cough medicines, or cough syrups. When your asthma triggers a cough, you should only use a rescue inhaler as the first line of defense to treat your symptoms, he says. Cough medicines wont help your asthma. When in doubt, you should avoid:
- Essential oils
- Cough medicines
- Cough syrups
If youre ever unsure about a product, call your provider or pharmacist for help before using itand never stop using your prescribed medications in favor of an herbal remedy.
What Is The Best Position To Sleep With Asthma
Alleviating some of your nocturnal asthma symptoms can be as simple as changing your sleeping position. One study found that the supine sleep position improved night-time asthma symptoms and constricts your lungs less than lying on your stomach or side.
The best sleeping position for asthma patients is to prop yourself up with extra pillows. This will help to keep the airways open and reduce your risk of a night-time cough.
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What Happens During Asthma Attacks
Asthma attacks may start as minor but if not managed effectively, can turn dangerous. During an asthma attack, the airways become swollen and constricted more than usual. Breathing properly becomes quite tough. Some signs of an asthma attack are:
- Wheezing while breathing in and out
- Extremely rapid breathing
Read More on Asthma Causes & Triggers
What Should I Do To Protect Myself
Get your asthma under control and maintain that control. I cannot stress that enough. That means staying on your usual medications.
At the first onset of respiratory symptoms, asthma patients should follow their individualized asthma action plan and contact their health care provider to see if additional treatments are necessary to prevent symptoms from worsening.
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Advice For Friends And Family
Its important that your friends and family know how to help in an emergency.
It can be useful to make copies of your personal asthma action plan and share it with others who may need to know what to do when you have an attack.
You can photocopy your existing plan, or you could download a blank personal asthma action plan from Asthma UK and fill it in for anyone who might need a copy.
Or you could take a photo of your action plan on your phone, so you can show or send it to others easily.
Page last reviewed: 19 April 2021 Next review due: 19 April 2024
How Do Asthma Inhalers Work
The most common way that doctors treat asthma is by prescribing the use of an inhaler to open your airway. This enables more oxygen to flow into your lungs . It’s more potent to use an inhaler than to take the medication any other way . This is because an inhaler enables the drugs to go straight to your lungs without passing through your bloodstream. The result is not only quicker, but also results in fewer side effects.
Depending on the severity of your asthma, your doctor will prescribe one of two types of inhalers: reliever or preventer. As the name indicates, reliever inhalers quickly diminish symptoms of sudden asthma attacks. It’s best to use a reliever inhaler as soon as you feel out of breath. On the other hand, preventer inhalers work slower and last longer. Preventer inhalers help diminish the number of asthma attacks experienced, and are taken every day to stop the onset of symptoms. These inhalers are usually prescribed to those for whom reliever inhalers aren’t providing sufficient relief of symptoms.
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Tests For Other Diseases
Asthma sometimes is hard to diagnose because symptoms vary widely from child to child and within each child over time. Symptoms may be the same as those of other conditions, such as influenza or other viral respiratory infections. Tests that may be done to determine whether diseases other than asthma are causing your childs symptoms include:
- A chest X-ray. A chest X-ray may be used to see whether something else, such as a foreign object, is causing symptoms.
- A sweat test, which measures the amount of salt in sweat. This test may be used to see whether cystic fibrosis is causing symptoms.
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Need For Emergency Care
There are ways to manage mild-to-moderate asthma symptoms without an inhaler. However, if you experience any of the following conditions, seek emergency medical care immediately.
- Extreme difficulty breathing or stopping breathing
- Bluish color to the lips and face, called cyanosis
- Severe anxiety
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Healthy Tips And Diet For Asthma Patients
- Avoid cold and damp places.
- Go for morning and evening walk for at least 30 minutes.
- Avoid tobacco, wine, smoking, overeating.
- Keep rooms well ventilated.
- Avoid perfumes, incense sticks, mosquito repellants.
- Drink plenty of water is the best natural treatment of Asthma.
- Avoid excessive exercise and indulgence in sex.
- Eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish like salmon, sardines and some plant sources like, flaxseed- are believed to have a number of health benefits.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Yoga improves the strength, flexibility, and capacity of the lungs, the three necessary components of overall fitness. Yoga therapy improves lung functions and reduces the frequency of exacerbations. It emphasizes conscious breathing and includes relaxation.
- Medication has beneficial effects on personality, emotions, and psyche. After medication, the asthmatic person can learn to come to a place of peace and stillness.
- Postures recommended for bronchial asthma are: Shirshasana, Dhanurasana, Chakarasana, Bhujangasana, Supta vajrasana are highly beneficial in asthma condition.
- Avoid reckless over-the-counter asthma medication as much as possible
Signs That You Need To Use Asthma First Aid
If you are experiencing any of the following signs, start asthma first aid. Do not wait until asthma is severe.
Mild to moderate asthma signs :
- able to talk in full sentences
- able to walk or move around
- may have a cough or wheeze.
Severe asthma signs :
- cannot speak a full sentence in one breath
- tugging of the skin between ribs or at base of neck
- may have cough or wheeze
- reliever medication not lasting as long as usual.
Life-threatening asthma signs :
- getting little or no relief from reliever inhaler
- may no longer have wheeze or cough.
In asthma emergencies, follow your asthma action plan.
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Can I Get An Asthma Inhaler Over The Counter
There is no shortcut method to treating asthma, but if quick relief is needed, there are OTC options available.
Primatene Mist is the only FDA-approved over-the-counter metered-dose inhaler. Primatene mist is indicated for mild symptoms of intermittent asthma.
Although over the counter asthma inhalers are available, experts say that they are not the best option for asthma.
However, some people choose this route due to lack of insurance or for quick relief.
PlushCare offers telehealth visits, even if you do not have insurance at an affordable cost, so you can get a prescription inhaler whenever you need it.
What To Do If You Don’t Have Your Asthma Inhaler
Why does it seem that fate takes over and asthma attacks occur the one time you forget to carry your inhaler? Unfortunately, it may happen at one time or another. Knowing what to do will not only help you feel better, but it can also save your life. First and foremost, do not panic. Freaking out will only cause your symptoms to get worse. Instead, sit straight, loosen up your clothes, and take some deep, slow breaths. Healthline recommends trying one of four breathing techniques. Buteyko breathing involves breathing slowly through your nose. The Papworth method consists of using your diaphragm and nose. Diaphragmatic breathing involves focusing on your diaphragm as you breathe. Finally, yoga breathing techniques, or pranayama, require you to control the duration and timing of each breath. Another strategy is to drink a caffeinated beverage such as coffee or tea or breathe in over a pot of boiling water. If your symptoms don’t improve in 15 minutes, or get worse, call 911 and seek medical attention.
Regardless of whether or not you have your inhaler, seek immediate medical attention if you are unable to have a conversation, are sweating profusely, or your breathing increases significantly in speed. Also, head to the emergency room if your skin color, particularly around your nails, turns blue or goes pale.
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Can You Treat Asthma Without An Inhaler
Unfortunately, there is no other effective first aid treatment for asthma. Placing the victim in a comfortable position to aid their breathing and keeping them calm will help, but these first aid measures will not stop the swelling and inflammation of the small airways. The victim will require treatment to improve their breathing.
What Are Some Common Asthma Triggers
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some of the most common asthma triggers include:
- Dust, cockroach waste, pet dander, indoor and outdoor mold, and pollen.
- Air pollutants, such as smoke, perfumes, diesel particles, sulfur dioxide, high ozone levels, and fumes from paint, cleaning products, and gas stoves.
- Changes in the weather, especially in temperature and humidity.
- Tobacco smoke.
- Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can trigger asthma in up to 5% of adult asthma patients.
- Activities that affect breathing, such as exercising, laughing, crying, or yelling
- Stress and anxiety
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Ways To Manage An Asthma Attack Without Your Inhaler
But have you talked about what you should do to manage a minor asthma attack if you forget your asthma inhaler? Knowing how to restore natural breathing and survive an asthma attack without your inhaler is an essential life-saving skill.
Home Remedies For Asthma
1. Best Foods for Treating Asthma
Eating a healthy diet supplies asthma sufferers with antioxidants and nutrients to combat environmental toxins, control inflammatory responses and reduce dietary triggers. Eating a wide variety of foods can ensure that you or your child gets all the nutrients needed to support strong immunity. There have been numerous studies that show consuming the right foods can be the one of the best home remedies for asthma.
Some of the most beneficial foods to include in your asthma diet plan are:
- Brightly colored carotenoid foods: This compound gives fruit and vegetables their orange or red color and can help reduce asthma attacks. are the basis of vitamin A, which is involved in the maintenance of healthy mucous membranes that line the air passageways. Severity of asthma correlates with low vitamin A, so increase your intake of things like root veggies, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens and berries. A study of 68,000 women showed that those who ate more tomatoes, carrots and leafy greens had much lower rates of asthma and that people prone to asthma tended to have low levels of circulating carotenoids in their blood.
- Foods with folate : Folate reduces allergic reactions and inflammation. It might be capable of lowering wheezing by regulating inflammatory processes as well. High-folate foods include green leafy vegetables, beans and nuts.
2. Avoid Foods that Can Make Asthma Attacks Worse
3. Supplements for Asthma
5. Other Home Remedies for Asthma
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How Can I Prevent And Treat Asthma Symptoms
There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed. There are two steps to controlling asthma: taking medicines and avoiding or limiting asthma triggers.
To prevent asthma symptoms:
- Avoid or limit contact with your asthma triggers andallergens. Use AAFAs Healthier Home Checklist to identify asthma triggers and allergens in your home and make your indoor environment healthier.
- Get vaccinated. Respiratory infections like colds and the flu can worsen asthma. Get a flu vaccine every year. Keep your lungs healthy by getting other vaccinations as recommended.
- Create an Asthma Action Plan with your doctor. Follow it when you have symptoms. If you are having trouble staying in the Green/Go Zone, your asthma may not be well-controlled. Talk with your doctor about your treatment plan.
- Take your asthma medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribed a medicine to control your asthma, take it as directed. This may be as needed or every day. Follow your Asthma Action Plan.
- Take care of your general health. It can be hard to take care of your health but doing so can help you better manage asthma. Try to get plenty of sleep and exercise. Eat healthy foods as much as possible, stay hydrated, and find ways to manage stress.
To treat sudden asthma symptoms:
Asthma Medicines: Control and Quick-Relief or a Combination
The Constant Worry Of Forgetting My Inhaler
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Ever since I was a child, I can remember being totally panic-stricken if I left my inhaler indoors, or if I thought I had dropped it somewhere. Its a fear that Im sure most asthma sufferers have experienced. The fear itself can actually trigger tightness in the chest which really isnt pleasant. The notion that you have come out without your inhaler is a real and scary prospect.
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Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
Signs that you may be having an asthma attack include:
- your symptoms are getting worse
- your reliever inhaler is not helping
- you’re too breathless to speak, eat or sleep
- your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you cannot catch your breath
- your peak flow score is lower than normal
- children may also complain of a tummy or chest ache
The symptoms will not necessarily occur suddenly. In fact, they often come on slowly over a few hours or days.