Management of the condition of asthma goes beyond the use of medications, peak flow values, visits to the doctor and knowing your triggers. There are also preventative measures that must be used at home before you can be fully ‘managed’. This isn’t something that your doctor can do by himself. The doctor needs good information to be able to prescribe the correct medications and therapies to keep you in good control.
The doctor might prescribe daily medication and rescue medication to control your episodes and allow you to live an active life. The task of preventative measures is up to you and your family. If you learn some key asthma self-help techniques you have a greater potential of keeping your asthma under control.
Asthma is triggered or is worsened by many things in your environment. It is your responsibility to learn your triggers and learn how to avoid them. There are so many things you can do that require little energy and less change to your lifestyle and that can also make a huge difference in the management of your asthma.
Here are the top 10 ways you can make a positive impact on the treatment of your disease.
1. The most important step in asthma management is to continue to follow your doctor’s recommendations and prescriptions. If you feel better that isn’t a reason to stop the treatment. If you have a concern about the medication you are taking or you feel you would do better with another medication then you should speak with your doctor first before discontinuing the meds you are on.
2. If your doctor prescribes peak flow values in your asthma management program follow the schedule and graph or record those values. If your doctor doesn’t suggest peak flow values ask to do them. This will give you a better perspective about your condition and more information for the doctor to follow when you have an episode.
3. Smoke is a very common trigger. If you smoke – quit. If you have a wood burning stove in the house do your best to find and use another heating source. Clean the walls of the house with a mild solution of vinegar and water to get rid of the residue on the walls.
4. Include dust removal in your asthma management program. Dust is another common trigger and can carry mites and other allergens. Shop for a vacuum cleaner that has the least amount of dust pumped back into the air. Remove all dust catchers in the home if you can. This includes carpets and draperies. If you can’t remove them then vacuum very frequently.
5. Dust mites are another asthma trigger and you should work to decrease the possibility of their presence in your home in your asthma management program. Avoid using stuffed decorations like stuffed animals in a child’s room or lots of pillows on an adult’s bed. Don’t use down feather comforters and pillows that also harbor dust mites. Cover your mattress in a plastic cover.
6. Asthma management goes beyond the house environment. Cold is another trigger for many asthmatics. When you go outside cover your mouth and nose with a scarf to warm the air before it reaches your lungs. Try to breathe through your nose which is a natural heater and humidifier.
7. Pet dander is another asthma trigger and important in your asthma management program. If you can’t part with your pet then don’t allow them in your bedroom which is where you spend at least six hours each day. Brush them frequently, including cats, and if they will tolerate the vacuum cleaner run the hose portion over them once weekly.
8. Be aware of what you eat and drink if you have food allergies. Although food allergies have a different reaction they can also trigger asthmatic episodes. Be sure you read the ingredients in processed and prepared foods for hidden ingredients or preservatives to which you react. If you can, try eating as much raw, whole food as possible.
9. Monitor the outdoor air quality daily. You can usually find this number on the news channels or their websites. During the springtime when pollens are numerous keep the windows in house shut and the air conditioner on. It might be more expensive and the spring air might feel better but you’ll have fewer episodes and you’ll feel healthier.
10. In your asthma management program include tracking the mold count and keep it down. It is a common allergen and asthma trigger. You may be thinking black mold growing under the floorboards of the house as the mold to be concerned about. Actually, mold that is more subtle and insidious can also be a problem for asthmatics. Keep the shower clean. Showering with a molded shower curtain only releases the spores when the hot water hits it. Dry your wet laundry immediately which means the wet towels from the kids in the summer don’t sit in the laundry basket for 24 hours waiting to be washed. Hang them outside for a couple of hours to dry them before putting them in the basket to be washed. Remove houseplants in your home as mold grows in the soil. Or replace the top layer of soil every month if you can’t bear to part with your favorite plant.
Take these suggestions into consideration when you are developing you asthma management program. You can use a method of elimination to help you keep the items that might be more important to you such as your pets and plants.
Your asthma management program is important to the control of your asthma. Design it well and you’ll be happier and healthier.