Asthma attacks can be quite a frightening experience for people. It will make the breathing much harder and shorter with the feeling of tightness and stiffness in the chest area. Inhalers and drugs like albuterol come in quite handy in those situations. If you find your inhaler and the drugs you can using fetches you quick relief in these situations, then do not give up on them. If things go out of your hand then have your Doctor’s contact number with you so that he can guide you better at times of emergency. As far as the non-emergency situations go there are some simple ways through which you can make yourself feel better and breath easy.
Asthma is caused due to many reasons, some common culprits known to science are smoke, cold air, dry air, pollen, too much exposure to dust, mold etc. When these causative agents confront a pair of sensitive lungs it can lead to Asthma.
So what is asthma?
Asthma is a condition where the tubes that link your lungs and acts as a pathway for oxygen constrict, leading to lesser abstraction in the air that flows into your lungs. When this happens the person will feel stiffness in his chest area and would experience shortness and difficulty with his breathing. This is called as Asthma attack. Additionally, the constricted tubes will release histamine, mucus, other chemical substances that lead to inflammation which can make the condition more worse.
How to Deal with an Asthma Attack?
Stay calm: Asthma attack can happen at any time, do not panic when it starts to happen, because panicking will make you breath faster and this will make the condition much worse. Just relax and take a break from whatever that you are doing and try to slow down your breathing. Close your eyes, breath in and out as slow as possible and feel your lungs expanding and contracting. You will slowly start to feel better. When you realize that your breathing is starting to get back on track then you can slowly open your eyes.
Drink Coffee: When you feel a little discomfort in breathing take a strong cup of coffee or drinks with high caffeine content like cola (Mountain dew should help). Why does this help? Caffeine is very closely related to theophylline chemically which is a common drug prescribed for Asthma. This chemical is known to clear the pathways to the lungs, making you to breath easy.
Ginkgo: Ginkgo herb is used as a medicine to treat asthma in China for centuries in their traditional medicine system. This herb is known to suppress a particular type of protein in the blood that is responsible for causing constriction in the airway to lungs. You can consume 60 to 250mg of ginkgo extract per day.
Magnesium: Magnesium is has been scientifically found to relax and expand the upper respiratory tract, so it eases your breathing. You should include magnesium-rich foods in your daily diet at least for one meal session per day. Some popular sources of magnesium include spinach, shard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, almonds, and black beans. If you want to take it as a supplement, then the recommended dose is 600 milligrams per day.
Omega-3 fatty acids: This is one of the most popular anti-inflammatory agents in our body and it is very vital too. Regular intake of omega 3 fatty acids in our diet will protect us from many diseases and inflammation-related problem which includes inflammation in the airways to our lungs. Omega-3 fatty acid is present in fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. You can source it through supplements. The recommended dose for asthma patients is 6000 milligrams per day. You can distribute the intake in three doses, like 2000 mg in the morning, afternoon, and in the night.
Evening Primrose Oil: This oil contains Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is known to increase the anti-inflammatory agents in our body and fights against inflammation. The recommended dose is 3000 milligrams per day. You can distribute the intake into three doses three times a day.
Quercetin: This is a polyphenol present in plants and it belongs to bioflavonoids group. Bioflavonoids are what gives the vegetables its unique colors and hues. They are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and quercetin, in particular, is found to inhibit histamine. So it will help you to fight the blocks in your airways and makes you breathe at ease. Quercetin recommended dose is 1500 milligrams per day, you can take it like 500 milligrams for three times a day.
Turmeric: This is a popular and well-known spice all over the world. It is mainly used in almost all the dishes in Indian cuisine. Turmeric is a well known anti-inflammatory agent and it is very effective in inhibiting COX-2 prostaglandins, which is a hormone-like substance that plays a vital role in inflammation. You can add a teaspoon of pure organic turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk and drink it once or twice a day. Ensure the turmeric powder you are using is pure and free from chemicals. If you cannot source it, you can always use turmeric capsules and tinctures.
When to seek Doctor’s help?
If an asthma attack is something new to you then you must immediately bring it to a Doctor’s attention. If you are someone who had asthma attacks before and have needed medications with you which you must use at times of emergency then make use of them. If you find yourself making use of these medications more often or having more frequent asthma attacks then it is better to consult a Doctor about it. If your symptoms continue to elevate even after using the medications then rush to the hospital immediately. If you cannot speak without gasping for more air then have someone to take you to the emergency care immediately.
Bluish cast on the face, severe difficulty in breathing, exhaustion, and confusion are emergency warning signs which you should not ignore.
Track your eating habits: Maintain a daily journal or a diary where you note down all the foods you eat on a particular day. Also, make sure to note down your asthma symptoms for the day. Keeping track of both will help you to understand which foods make you feel better and which foods are making the condition worse. Food allergies need not directly impact or trigger an asthma attack but avoid foods that you are allergic to.
Peak-flow-meter: If you are an asthma patient I guess by now you must be familiar with the term. This is a common device used by Doctors to measure your airflow and how to know how well you are breathing. You can find this device on most drugstores, so buy one for yourself to check how well you are responding to your medications and remedial measures you are taking up. Sometimes it can be helpful to know if you really need an emergency care. This device is quite handy and is a must-have for all asthma patients.
How to Prevent?
- Quit smoking cigarettes if you are a smoker. Smoking will severely elevate your asthma conditions. Additionally, never be near a person who smokes, forbid anyone to smoke in your presence. Passive smoking is as bad as active smoking.
- Don’t stay in close proximity to fire generated from woods and maintain a safe distance from any fireplace. If possible wear a mask or tie a cloth around your nose when you are nearby a fire or a wooden stove. Fine particles released from these fires can float in the air and get in your lungs and can potentially infect it in the long run. So stay alert.
- During cold weather and winter season make use of scarf and wrap it around your nose. Cold air is bad for your lungs, if possible do not venture out when it is really cold outside, stay indoors and make use of dehumidifier at home.
- Do not use strong smelling perfumes, scents, and deodorants as they can trigger asthma.
- Avoid oily and deep-fried foods, do not overeat or binge eat. Oily foods, deep fried foods, heavy foods can bring in the stomach acids the into the oesophagus and cause acid reflux. Acid reflux can sometimes trigger asthma. Eat less. If you eat three large meals a day, then distribute it like six small meals a day. Make sure you are having a light dinner.
- There are certain drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen etc.. can trigger asthma attacks. If you are suffering from asthma avoid using these drugs and make use of aspirin-free pain relievers, something like acetaminophen (Tylenol).