If you experience sudden bouts of breathlessness, you are suffering from asthma. When some dust, smoke or the scent of any odd flower or perfume will get you whizzing, coughing and gasping, you are suffering from asthma. These are just some of the allergens that can irritate your nasal passage. Other irritants are exercise, pollution or smog, a sudden change in weather, cold or any infection of the airways.
Though asthma attack can be scary, there is no need to panic. Besides following doctor’s medications, there are certain tips that you can follow to prevent asthma. First, it is important for you to guard yourself against dust mite allergies and hay fever. Take the following steps:
• Go for yoga: Performing simple yogic breathing where you exhale for twice as long as you inhale can prevent against future asthma attacks. This technique has been proven to be very effective. The effect of this breathing is similar to that obtained by the use of a corticosteroid inhaler. To do this breathing, close your eyes, inhale and then exhale naturally. Pause without holding your breath for one or two seconds before the next inhalation. This will allow the exhalation to complete naturally. Do not try to breathe deeply or slowly. But if there is a need to breathe deeply, you can do so till you can come back to breathing exercise.
• Avoid sleeping on full stomach: Sleeping while your stomach is full can aggravate your asthma. Asthma is caused by stomach reflux, which occurs when stomach acid goes back into esophagus. This causes the stomach contents to regurgitate into your mouth and then drip down into the airways when you are lying down or sleeping. Avoid heavy snacks and take an antacid to reduce your stomach’s acidity. Theophylline medications can also aggravate the asthma by increasing the stomach’s reflux. If you are on this medication and are experiencing stomach reflux problem, consult your doctor to reduce the dosage.
• Note your food sensitivity: Eating or smelling certain foods can trigger an asthma attack in some people. Foods like milk, eggs, seafood and nuts are the main culprits.
• Eat plenty of fish: Eskimos rarely suffer from asthma. Hence, some researchers conclude that eating plenty of fish may prevent asthma. The fishes more likely to have an impact on asthma are omega-3 rich fish like sardines, mackerels and herring.
• Take multiple vitamins: Taking a good vitamin/mineral supplement and having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables might help; since some nutrients have been shown to prevent asthma. People who take vitamin C and zinc are less likely to suffer more than the others. Increase your intake of citrus fruits, broccoli and peppers for vitamin C and beef, crab and oysters for zinc.
• Get relief from caffeine: Coffee has been shown to help people with asthma. It has the same effect as theophylline. A cup of a regular strong black coffee will have beneficial effect on asthma. But do not use caffeine as a substitute for or along with other medications and must be always used in case of emergency. When you do not have medications, you can have 2 cups of regular strong black coffee for instant relief. You can get relief, albeit slower, with hot cocoa or milk chocolate.