Asthma is a common lung condition causing occasional breathing difficulties. It’s an allergy, a deep-rooted disease, causing respiratory disorders at any age. Asthma is a combination of hereditary as well as environmental factors. It isn’t contagious. Asthma, catarrh, hives, medicine or food allergies are diseases which go together in one person or in a family. Even if asthma is incurable, it’s possible to keep it under control. During the reach of puberty, asthma naturally fades away for some, but the probability is high for this condition to return.
Respiratory tract and its functioning
The respiratory tract continues from the nose to the lungs. The respiratory system is divided into small tubes which distributes oxygen to the blood circulation system. The tubes help to release carbon dioxide - a by-product of our body.
What is going on inside?
The inflammation of the respiratory tract narrows the muscles around it, making the inner walls highly sensitive. These highly sensitive tracts are vulnerable to the impacts of outside irritants causing asthma and leading the way for the tract to release a thick mucous. After the symptoms of asthma vanish, these changes will return to normalcy.
Asthma is controlled best by using an inhaler. There’s only a tiny dose of medicine inserted into the inhaler. The medicine within the inhaler moves directly to the infected respiratory tract and controls asthma, therefore the side effects are minimal compared to treating it with pills. Many assume that using an inhaler will become an addiction and therefore are having an indefinite fear of using it.
A food allergy surfaces several hours after a meal. If asthma patients often suffer from food allergies, it is only then that he or she should avoid those “allergic” food. Do not give up on having dairy and protein-rich food as eggs, on mere suspicion, because nutrition is most essential for life. If any suspicion arises regarding food, it is better to seek medical advice.
Crackling and tight chest
Waking up at night due to one or more of above symptoms
If any child is found to have a cough while engaged in physical activities, it may be a sign that the child is suffering from asthma.
Is your home safe from Maitas?
The cause of asthma is a tiny microscopic body which is commonly seen on mattresses, rugs, mosquito nets and stuffed toys. Drying up mattresses and pillows in sunlight, washing bedsheets and mosquito nets frequently with warm water (700C), keeping stuffed animals away from children will help keep asthma at a bay .
The most effective and safest method of controlling asthma is using an inhaler because the inhaler is activated only in the lungs, unlike the tablet which affects the entire body. The low dose of medicine in the inhaler will be more effective.
There are two categories of inhalers. One inhaler will open up the shrunken respiratory canals and provide a quick relief when asthma pops up. The second one controls inflammation (swelling) of the respiratory system and sensitivity of respiratory canal and should be used frequently for a longer period to avoid symptoms appearing. These avoid reaction with outside irritants also. The second category inhalers should be used regularly, even when the patient isn’t suffering from asthma, everyday at the same time. The inhaler keeps the disease under control and protects the lungs.
There are various inhalers, but the most common inhalers are the ones that come in the form of a dry powder inhaler. There are also the pressurized metered dose inhalers which give the dose under high pressure. It is wiser to discuss the type of inhaler that suits you best with your doctor before usage.
Inhaler use isn’t successful when the patient doesn’t breath properly and also when the user fails to use the inhaler regularly in keeping with the doctor’s guidelines. Therefore proper use is a must in producing the best results.
What is a spacer?
It is a device that helps the medicine dose to move more effectively into the lungs and is aided by high pressure. It is important to use this for children and elders.
An asthma patient should take long-term treatment under the supervision of a doctor and he or she should not stop treatment without the doctor’s recommendation.
Asthma should be well controlled to be safe during pregnancy. If an asthma patient is expecting or expecting a pregnancy, it is better to seek doctor’s advice. The sudden exposure to cold water can pop up asthma symptoms. But most often, asthma symptoms will increase with the catarrh soon after a bath. If suffering from catarrh be careful not to have baths early in the morning or later in the evening. Using the inhaler during pregnancy is the safest. Feeding the baby with breast milk for the first six months will reduce the risk in a baby of developing asthma. Exposure to passive smoking ( non - smoking person inhaling smoke) during pregnancy will expose a baby’s health to the risk of developing asthma later in life.
what if the disease is under control?
A patient will be able to engage in any kind of physical activity and sport if asthma symptoms don’t surface.
They are able to enjoy a good nights’ sleep.
Inhaler use will be limited to only once or twice or limited terms per week.
Patients will be able to enjoy the optimum performance of their lungs with the use of an inhaler.
How to prepare for the next clinical test?
Maintain a journal on asthma, including all the symptoms and show it to the doctor. It will help the doctor to prescribe medicine and decide whether to increase or decrease the dose. Mention whether the patient had catarrh or gastritis.
Take the inhaler to every clinic the patient attends. Clear doubts regarding practical use of an inhaler and check with the clinical staff whether you are using it properly. Inquire more about the duration you should use the inhaler and when it is time to stop.
Ask how Asthma gets severe and as what to do during an emergency.
If you have any other doubt or suspicion inquire from nurses or the doctor to avoid confusion.
(Source - Seminar held at Health Education Bureau)
- Fur-bearing animals - avoid having these animals indoors and avoid any kind of contact with them
- Respiratory diseases like influenza
- Mold (fungi) - The molds inside houses as well as outside environment, can rigorously increase asthma. Repairing leaking water taps, scratching off the mold growing on walls to restrain future growth as well as staying away from hay are beneficial to keep asthma under control. An asthma patient should reveal all the medicines he or she is using to a doctor, whenever a visit is made to the doctor because some medications can stir up asthma.
- Exercising is also considered a triggering fact for asthma. The asthma symptoms may become visible after some minutes of physical exercises. Warming up before the exercise session and warming down can avoid the risk of increasing asthma.
- Cockroaches: Feces and decaying bodies of cockroaches have the ability to spread asthma. Watch out the places where cockroaches are bred and clean those areas frequently. Keep food tightly closed, and ensure the leftover food and scrapings are sealed away. Thoroughly clean the remnants of dead cockroaches. But sprinkling pesticides can be fatally dangerous for kids. If there are asthma patients at home, be careful in handling the pesticides.
Tips to control your asthma
- It is important to stay away from irritants that lead the way for asthma.
- Don’t forget to warm up and warm down during exercise.
- Using an inhaler 10 minutes prior to exercises is recommended to avoid developing asthma.
- Make sure asthma is under control before engaging any kind of physical activity.
- Controlling asthma well ensures a healthy and normal lifestyle.
- *Doing exercises daily is essential for anyone to lead a healthy and balanced life.
- If you are a smoker, stop smoking and try to stop others from smoking close to asthma patients.
- Use a face mask or use protection if exposed to irritants.
- Maintain proper ventilation in the kitchen (keep windows and doors open while cooking)
- Use properly dried wood when cooking.
- Do not use plastic, polythene or other artificial materials to keep fires burning
- Active and inactive smoking
- The fumes from burning wood when cooking as well as the exhaust fumes released by vehicles.
- Mosquito repellents, sharp scents and air fresheners.