What can I do to prevent an Asthma attack?
There are few strategies to follow:
1. Limit your exposure to allergens. The following measures would lessen asthma attacks
- Avoid pets with fur or feathers in the house or keep them outdoors
- Use an air conditioner with a clean air filter
- Keep humidity of the house low
- When pollen counts are high, stay indoors as far as possible
- Dust mites live in fabrics and carpets. Cover bedding and pillows using allergen proof covers. Change bed sheets and pillow covers regularly. Wash the bed and pillow covers in hot water. Replace carpeted floor with hardwood floors or tile.
- Avoid stuffed animals, or only buy washable ones
- Avoid foam rubber bedding with synthetic materials
- Keep your kitchen and bathroom clean. Keep them dry to prevent mold and cockroaches.
- Avoid air pollution, industrial dusts and other irritating fumes as much as possible.
- Eliminate tobacco smoke from the home
2. Take regular medications. The control medications should be taken every day to maintain the airways. They prevent an attack of asthma. They maintain the normal diameter of the airways and control airway inflammation. Quit smoking. It can undo the effect of any medicine you are taking.
3. Monitor Lung Function regularly. Lung function usually decreases a couple of days prior to an asthma attack. A peak flow meter is a simple device to your lung function. It measures how quickly you can move air out of your lungs. It helps you see if an attack is coming and when medication is needed or other action needs to be taken. Peak flow values of 50% – 80% of your best results are a sign of a moderate asthma attack. Values below 50% are a sign of a severe attack.
What should I do when I have an Asthma attack?
During an acute attack of Asthma:
- Take a puff from the inhaler. Always keep your inhaler with you.
- Open the windows of the room if you are in a warm and humid room.
- Loosen any tight clothing. Sit-up.
- If you do not feel any improvement, continue to take one puff of inhaler every minute for 3 to 5 minutes or until your symptoms improve
- If all the above steps fail, contact your doctor.
What are my chances of recovering completely from Asthma?
There is no cure for asthma. Symptoms sometimes improve over time. With proper self-management and prompt medical treatment, most people with asthma can lead normal lives
What happens if I do not take my Asthma medications? What are the complications of Asthma?
1. Decreased quality of life – decreased ability to exercise and take part in other activities, fatigue, underperformance or absence from work, psychological problems including stress, anxiety and depression.
2. Respiratory complications – asthma can lead to a number of serious respiratory complications, like pneumonia (infection of the lungs), a collapse of part or all of the lung and respiratory failure. In acute respiratory failure, the bronchial tubes are completely blocked. Oxygen level in the blood becomes dangerously low, or carbon dioxide level becomes dangerously high. Such patients have to be immediately shifted on ventilators to avoid fatality.
3. In pregnant women asthma complications may include early labour, hypertension, gestational diabetes and haemorrhage. Asthma also puts their babies at risk of lower birth weight and breathing disorders
4. Status asthmaticus (severe asthma attacks that do not respond to treatment).
First Published: May 2, 2012 at 8:15 AM