Asthma is a long-term lung condition. People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs which react to triggers. When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This narrows the airways, causing less air to flow into the lungs. The swelling also can worsen, making the airways even narrower. Prevention of an asthma attack can be done through numerous ways.
An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of your asthma symptoms. This causes narrowing of your airways due to inflammation, swelling, and mucus. It can be a scary experience, leaving you to struggle for breath while feeling tightness in your chest, as if a huge weight is resting on it.
Asthma can’t be cured but can be well controlled. It never really goes away it just seems as though it does. If you’re experiencing asthma attacks often, consult your doctor. Certain lifestyle changes can help in the prevention of an asthma attack. Proper self-care and effective preventive measures can reduce the risk of asthma attack.
What can cause an asthma attack?
Things that can cause asthma attacks are called allergens. It can be caused by irritants (things that can irritate the lungs) or allergens. Besides, different people will react to different allergens and irritants.
Common causes of asthma attacks at home include:
- Mold or dampness
- Dust mites (tiny bugs that live in beds and carpets)
- Pets with fur such as cats and dogs
- Cockroaches (roaches and also their droppings may trigger asthma)
- Mice, rats, and other rodents
- Secondhand smoke
- Wood smoke
- Strong fragrances such as soaps and perfumes
Some of the things you can do to help keep your asthma under control are described below.
Prevention and Control of Asthma Attack
While medications can bring your disease under control, you can reduce your attacks with the following measures:
1. Identify and avoid asthma triggers.
In order to prevent an asthma attack, it is important you first recognize the causes of it. Many people with asthma have allergies that can set off attacks. A number of outdoor allergens and irritants can trigger asthma attacks. This ranges from pollen, mold to cold air and air pollution. Find out what causes or worsens your asthma, and take steps to avoid those triggers.
If you don’t already know what’s causing your asthma attacks, start keeping track of your asthma symptoms in a diary. Any time you have an asthma episode, think about where you were and what you were doing the past day or so. Discuss your notes with your doctor to look for trends.
As you identify your triggers, talk about which ones you can avoid, and how to best avoid them. For instance, if you are allergic to dust mites, you should put an airtight cover around your pillow and mattress.
2. Devise an asthma action plan.
Asthma experts, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Lung Association, recommend developing an asthma action plan. Your doctor can help you develop an asthma action plan. This can help you control your asthma.
The plan should document important information, such as your medications, control and prevention of asthma attacks. It can also include how to control your asthma symptoms in the long run. Understanding your asthma action plan can help you follow it. Because you will know exactly what to do in case of an asthma attack.
Most plans separate asthma symptoms into 3 coloured zones. Thus green, yellow and red – to help you monitor the severity of your symptoms. The green zone means you’re doing well. The yellow zone means you have worsening asthma. If you’re in the red zone, you should get medical help right away.
3. Use allergy-proof covers on pillows and mattresses.
The dust mites that live in mattresses and pillows are common triggers. You may be able to improve your breathing dramatically with simple measures. Wash bedding weekly in hot water (above 130 degrees F) to get rid of dust mites. Enclose pillows and mattresses in zippered airtight covers.
You can also remove carpets from the bedroom. Because, it’s easier to keep bare floors clean. If carpeting cannot be removed, vacuum at least twice a week with a cleaner equipped with a HEPA air filter.
4. Avoid harsh cleaning products and chemicals.
Fumes from household cleaners can trigger asthma. Avoid inhaling fumes at home and prevent exposure away from home as much as possible. Ask your doctor about which cleaning products are best to use. You can also use a dehumidifier to reduce excess moisture and help prevent mold in your home.
5. Take your asthma medicines as prescribed.
Asthma medicines are usually inhaled through three ways. It can either be through a machine called a nebulizer, a small device called a metered dose inhaler (also called an inhaler, puffer or MDI) or through a dry powder inhaler (DPI).
Inhalers must be used properly for effective results. Therefore you must use them correctly. But more than half of all people who use inhalers don’t use them properly. Ask your doctor or nurse to watch you and check your technique. If it is still incorrect, you have two choices.
Ask them to recommend a spacer or holding chamber. This device attaches to the inhaler to make it easier to use. It also help more medicine reach the lungs. Everyone can benefit from using a spacer or holding chamber, especially children. Or, ask about using a “breath-actuated” inhaler, which automatically releases medicine when you inhale.
6. Avoid Smoke
First and foremost, make a no-smoking rule in your home. This help set the basis for asthma attack prevention. Both cigarette smoke, including secondhand smoke, can make asthma worse. And babies who live in homes where people smoke are at higher risk of developing asthma. If you have guests who smoke, ask them to smoke outside. If you smoke, make a plan to quit today.
Also avoid burning wood inside your home. Breathing too much smoke from a wood-burning stove or fireplace can cause an asthma attack. If you can avoid it, don’t burn wood in your home. But, if you need to use a wood stove or fireplace, check out these tips on how to reduce the smoke.
7. Do not allow pets in bedrooms or on furniture.
Pet dander is a common asthma trigger. It is often difficult to avoid it entirely because for many of us, our pets are just like members of the family. If you can’t live without one, keep the pet out of your bedroom. Also bath it regularly and wash your hands after petting it.
8. Exercise helps in asthma attack prevention.
If exercise triggers asthma attacks, DON’T give up on exercising. Physical activity is important – even for people with asthma. One of the goals of asthma treatment is to help you maintain a normal and healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise and other physical activities. Reduce the risk for exercise-induced asthma attacks by working out inside on very cold or very warm days. Talk to your doctor about asthma and exercise.
9. Get vaccinated for flu
Get a flu shot every year to protect against the flu virus. Because, it almost always makes asthma much worse for days to weeks. People with asthma are more likely to have complications from the flu, such as pneumonia. Staying current with vaccinations can prevent flu and chest infections which may trigger asthma flare-ups.