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How To Stay Healthy With Asthma

Be Prepared For Asthma Emergencies

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Not having your rescue inhaler immediately available can be dangerous. Because you have no idea when you might need it, consider keeping a spare in your backpack, purse, desk, or any place that you spend a lot of time.

Put an ICE, or in case of emergency, contact in your cell phone.An ICE contact is a person who knows about your health conditions and can provide healthcare providers or first responders information when you are unable to. First responders are trained to look for these contacts in people’s cell phones when they are evaluating patients.

Even people who take their asthma medicine exactly as prescribed and who work to avoid triggers can have the occasional asthma attack. It’s essential to have an asthma action plan in place for those times.

This plan includes your triggers, peak flow indicators, and medications, and will help you know what to do based on your symptoms. Give the plan to someone close to you so that they know what to do in case you need help.

Minimize Effects Of Environmental Factors That Impact Asthma And Allergies

When managing asthma and allergies, there are air quality factorsthat are controllable and uncontrollable .

The first step is knowing your triggers and then adjusting your medications on days when the air quality may be particularly bad, Dr. Parikh says.

Its important to see an allergist who can identify your asthma and allergy triggers whether its dust mites, pollen, mold, animals, cockroaches or all of the above, she says.

Environmental allergies and air quality may worsen in the years ahead.

Climate change is impacting asthma and allergies, she says. Warmer temperatures are causing pollen seasons to last longer, which in turn causes plants, grasses and trees to produce more potent pollen.

Asthma Action Plan

Food And Medicine Allergies

Many people with asthma report problems with eating certain types of foods. This is especially true of foods that contain sulfites, such as beer, wine, shrimp, and processed potatoes. Some medicines can also cause problems, especially aspirin and beta-blockers, which can be contained in some heart medicines and eyedrops.

How can you deal with food or medicine allergies to prevent airway inflammation or swelling?

  • Talk with your health-care provider or pharmacist about all prescription or over-the-counter medications you take, as well as vitamins and herbal supplements to find out if any of them could affect your asthma.
  • Stay away from any food or medicine that makes your asthma worse.
  • Be careful to avoid eating foods that contain sulfites.
  • Read food labels.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma

Symptoms of asthma can be different in each person, because of its varying severity. But you can experience some of these common symptoms:

  • Shortness or loss of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Difficulty sleeping due to coughing or wheezing
  • Choking sensation

If you experience any of these symptoms, its important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Foods That Contain Sulfites

World asthma day awareness infographics poster template

Sulfites are a type of preservative often present in preserved foods and beverages, such as alcohol, pickled foods, bottled lemon and lime juice, and dried fruits.

People with asthma who have high levels of sulfites in their diet may find that their symptoms worsen. The ALA warns that consuming foods containing sulfites, particularly wine, may even trigger an asthma episode.

People with asthma should try to identify and avoid triggers that may worsen their symptoms or bring on asthma episodes.

The ALA says that the following are some things to avoid to prevent triggering asthma:

  • over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • common food allergens, such as peanuts and shellfish
  • smoke exposure, such as from cigarette smoke, campfires, or wood burning fireplaces
  • adverse weather, such as stormy, windy, cold, or humid weather
  • air pollution, smog, vehicle exhaust fumes, and chemical fumes
  • dander and saliva from animals with fur or feathers
  • environmental exposure to dust mites, mold, or spores

If a person experiences an asthma episode, they should try to take the following steps:

  • Sit upright, stay calm, and try to breathe slowly and steadily.
  • For people who have a rescue inhaler, which is usually blue, take one puff every 30â60 seconds.
  • If the symptoms do not improve or the person does not have an inhaler, call for emergency help.
  • Continue to use the inhaler while waiting for help to arrive.
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    Keeping Your Childs Asthma In Check With Good Nutrition

    If you’re the parent of a child with asthma, chances are you try a variety of things to help keep your child’s condition under good control. The good news is that beyond peak flow monitoring and a medication regimen, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to help your child live a full and healthy life. One of these lifestyle choices is following a healthy diet.

    Increase Fruits and Veggies and Cut Out Processed Foods

    According to Healthline, many healthcare professionals believe that part of the reason

    why asthma rates in children have increased over the past few decades is that children are eating fewer fruits and vegetables and more processed foods. Livestrong notes that, in particular, fast foods like hamburgers have been associated with worsening or more frequent asthma flare-ups. Processed foods with ingredients like hydrogenated oils and/or high fructose corn syrup are also suspected to make asthma signs and symptoms worse.

    So what should kids be eating? WebMD notes that a diet rich in vitamins like C and E,

    antioxidants like beta-carotene, flavonoids and minerals like selenium and magnesium

    have all been associated with lower rates of asthma or improved asthma. So

    introducing more foods like apples and oranges, sweet potatoes and spinach into your

    child’s diet can help manage his or her condition.

    Diet for Weight Loss if Needed

    Because, according to WebMD, the obesity is associated with more severe asthma

    Avoid Winter Asthma Triggers

    Asthma triggers can vary among individuals. The most common include mold, dust, pet dander and others. As you spend more time inside, you have more exposure to these common indoor allergens. The winter can also bring unique triggers, like smoke from a fire or a fresh Christmas tree in the living room.

    Here are ways to limit your exposure to these triggers:

    • Wash bedding in hot water once a week.
    • Keep pets out of the bedroom.
    • Have someone else dust and vacuum.
    • Use allergen covers on mattresses and pillows.

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    Enjoy An Active Lifestyle

    Don’t let your asthma stop you being physically active. Choose an activity you enjoy and aim for at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity every day or most days.

    Consider getting involved in structured exercise: people with asthma who participate in physical training feel better.

    Asthma symptoms after exercise are common but treatable. If exercise causes asthma symptoms, tell your doctor so you can find the treatment that works best for you. This could be as simple as taking a few puffs of your reliever before you warm up.

    Identify And Avoid Your Triggers

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    It’s important to identify possible asthma triggers by making a note of where you are and what you’re doing when your symptoms get worse.

    Some triggers can be hard to avoid, but it may be possible to avoid some, such as dust mites, pet fur and some medicines.

    You’ll have regular contact with your doctor or asthma nurse to monitor your condition.

    These appointments may involve:

    • talking about your symptoms for example, if they’re affecting your normal activities or are getting worse
    • a discussion about your medicines including if you think you might be experiencing any side effects and if you need to be reminded how to use your inhaler
    • breathing tests

    It’s also a good chance to ask any questions you have or raise any other issues you want to discuss.

    You may be asked to help monitor your condition between appointments. For example, you may be advised to check your peak flow if you think your symptoms may be getting worse.

    Your personal action plan should say what to do if your symptoms get gradually or suddenly worse. Contact your doctor or asthma nurse if you’re not sure what to do.

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    Control Stress And Anxiety To Reduce Asthma Symptoms

    Studies show stress can worsen all medical conditions, but its especially hard on lung diseases, often triggering a particularly difficult cycle of breathing problems. Symptoms can mimic asthma and trigger flares.

    Controlling stress and anxiety needs to be a priority. The mind is a very powerful thing, so certain activities like meditating or yoga can create a calming effect and help immensely with lung health, Dr. Parikh says.

    Asthma and allergy patients with untreated depression should seek counseling because the condition can lead to poor adherence to their treatment plan and an overall worsening of symptoms.

    Children face different stressors than adults, such as peer pressure and homework, but they can also benefit from stress-reduction efforts. For example, encourage them to play outside so they can burn off stress and anxiety instead of sitting inside playing video games.

    On The Verge Of An Asthma Attack

    What went wrong? Who knows! That is the nature of my asthma. Some days are great and I feel like I can climb a mountain– or maybe just a flight of steps— but still, it is very empowering when I am feeling strong. On this day though, I did a simple, short workout, in the comfort of my own home. Still, I was blindsided by feeling like I was on the verge of an attack.

    I had no idea why I had that reaction to a simple workout. It could be a host of things. I have a few health issues that impact my ability to breathe which further complicates trying to figure out what went wrong. That feeling of being defeated by asthma feeling as though I have failed in some way can be very discouraging. Well, I am working on being kinder to myself so I started to look at this hurdle from a new perspective.

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    Make Sure The School/college Knows Your Student Is At Risk For An Asthma Emergency

    At the beginning of the school year, make sure your students School/College Health Inquiry Form includes asthma-related questions. Here are some tips to get you off to a good start:

    • New students should contact the principals office and become familiar with school policies and resources.
    • For college students, they should contact the admissions office and become familiar with campus policies and resources.
    • Returning students should revisit the schools medication policies and procedures and update any required forms.
    • Parents should set up a short informal meeting with classroom teachers, to make them aware of the childs condition.
    • College students should schedule a meeting with resident advisors, with off-campus housing, or the infirmary. Make them aware of the condition.
    • The American Lung Association recommends having an Asthma Action Plan on file for each student with asthma.
    • The ALA recommends ensuring immediate access to asthma medication

    Find more resources for tracking students with asthma in the Maximizing School Health Services section of the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit.

    What Else Affects Asthma Symptoms

    Asthma (With images)

    Nutrition — good or bad — isnât the only way that asthma might be affected by diet. Here are some examples:

    There is no evidence that elimination of all dairy products from the diet improves asthma control, even in a minority of patients. Thatâs simply a myth and can lead to osteoporosis, especially in patients who must regularly take corticosteroids to control their severe asthma.

    Before you make any big changes to your eating habits, itâs always a good idea to talk to your health care provider or asthma specialist first. Depending on your asthma diagnosis — and considering your general health and the severity of your asthma symptoms — your health care provider might have specific advice for how to improve your diet.

    Show Sources

    SOURCES: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: “GERD and Asthma ” “Sulfite Sensitivity ” and “Tips to Remember: Asthma Triggers and Management.” American Medical Association, Essential Guide to Asthma, 2000. News release, American Thoracic Society web site. Freary, J. and Britton, J. Thorax, 2007. McKeever, T.M. and Britton, J. American journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2004. Medscape Medical News: “Mediterranean Diet May Protect Against Childhood Asthma-Like Symptoms and Rhinitis.” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “Food Allergy: An Overview.” National Jewish Medical and Research Center: “Nutrition and Asthma.”

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    Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack Caused By Food

    If you have asthma and you start to have an asthma attack triggered by food or sulfites, you will need to watch out for the symptoms below:

    • Intense coughing

    • Feeling as though you cannot catch your breath

    • Mouth and throat have become very itchy and irritated

    While some of these can be symptoms of asthma in general, these symptoms begin shortly after you start eating. When the first symptom starts, you need to stop chewing immediately, spitting out any food you may have in your mouth.

    If this is your first attack, you need to use your rescue inhaler and identify what you ate when the asthma attack happened. Depending on the severity of the asthma attack, medical assistance may be required.

    Doing The Best Types Of Exercise For Asthma

  • 1Walk. Walking is a great exercise for a large variety of people – including those with asthma. It’s a low intensity activity that keeps your heart rate lower and doesn’t cause deep or labored breathing.
  • One study in particular showed that adults who walked three times a week showed improved fitness levels and had better control over their asthma after 12 weeks.
  • Health and asthma professionals recommend doing a moderate to brisk walk a few times per week. However, you’ll need to gauge how well you do with a moderate walk before advancing to more brisk or face paced walk.
  • Always warm-up before your walk and make sure to have your emergency inhaler handy just in case you need it. Aim for a 2030 minute walk to start with if you’re able. Work yourself up to longer times or a faster pace overtime.
  • 2Go for a swim. You may think that swimming is a harder exercise to do aerobically however, swimming is actually a recommended cardio activity for those suffering with asthma. Check to see if there’s a pool in your area that you can use.
  • The reason that swimming is frequently recommended for asthmatics is because you’re breathing in air that is highly humidified and warm. This is helps your lungs function better.
  • Try any type of water exercise that you have available. You can try water yoga, water aerobics, water walking or just swimming laps.
  • Short bursts of moderate-intensity activities should be OK and are tolerated by most people with asthma.XResearch source
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    Will Exercising Or Playing Outdoors Make My Child Sick

    No. Children do not catch colds by being outside in cold weather. They catch colds from other people who are sick. This is more likely to happen indoors than outdoors. In fact, exercising or playing outdoors has many benefits for your child. This includes improving overall health, feeling happier and less stressed and concentrating better on schoolwork.

    Sometimes, cold air outside can trigger asthma symptoms. Ask the care team for tips on how to manage your childs asthma symptoms when the weather gets colder.

    Eat Well To Breathe Well

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    Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which may improve your lung health and help avoid asthma attacks. Aim for a well-balance diet with 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day. Eating lots of fish may help with your asthma too.

    Eating too much saturated fat may increase your risk of asthma attacks. Limit the amount of saturated fats you eat by limiting fast foods and choosing lean meats.

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    Is There A Connection Between Asthma And Weight

    Yes, there can be a connection between asthma and weight. In some cases, extra weight can make asthma symptoms worse and harder to manage. Asthma can then make it harder to keep a healthy weight because exercise or other physical activities can make certain asthma symptoms worse, like trouble breathing or coughing.

    Find The Right Activity For You

    There are no bad activities for people with asthma. And you dont have to sign up for a marathon taking a daily walk, playing more vigorously with your kids or grandchildren, or doing some gardening all count.

    Even just sitting down a little less during your day has major health benefits.

    People with asthma tell us they enjoy:

    • Walking, especially with a walking group, because of the other benefits like being outside and meeting people
    • Yoga and tai chi because they let you set the pace and relax, as well as helping with breathing control
    • Some people with asthma say swimming really helps, but others report that the chlorine makes their symptoms flare up
    • NHS programmes like Couch to 5K and Strength and Flex are free, can be done at home, and are designed for absolute beginners
    • Walking netball or chair yoga are great for building up your confidence there are lots of other modified sports you could try search for inclusive sports groups in your area

    What has helped me is to learn exercise can be done in one minute blocks and incorporated into my daily life. Asthma UK Readers Panel member

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