Asthma is respiratory condition marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. It usually results from an allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity. This condition is accompanied by chronic inflammation of the airways.
Types of asthma.
Extrinsic asthma is triggered by exposure to an allergen. It starts at childhood and as the child grows up, the disease may heal. It is easy to control and responds well to medication.
Intrinsic asthma starts at adulthood and no specific trigger can be identified. It respond poorly to medication.
Signs and symptoms.
• Chest tightness
• Chest pain
• Chest pressure
• Shortness of breath
• Constricted airways
• Rapid breathing
• Breathing difficulty
• Increased blood IgE levels
• Increased mucus production in airways
• Worsening of symptoms after exercise
• Worsening of symptoms on exposure to cold air
• Worsening of symptoms on inhaling smoke
• Worsening of symptoms on inhaling dust
• Worsening of symptoms on inhaling fumes
Prevention of asthma attacks
Use clean beddings.
Clean your beddings at least once a week with hot water. This gets rid of all allergens and prevents accumulation. Getting rid of allergens reduces the chances of getting an attack.
Keep pets off from living areas.
Pets fur triggers attacks. Stay away from it.
Remove carpets and dolls from bedrooms.
Carpets accumulate dust and allergens therefore keep them off bedrooms. If carets cannot be removed, then they have to be cleaned once a week. Dolls are stuffed with animal fur and wool which may trigger attacks.
Keep the rooms dry and aired.
Humid and moist rooms are good breeding grounds for moulds. Moulds trigger asthma attacks. Keep bathrooms and toilets dry. Open all windows to let in air and remove humid air.
Avoid any kind of smoking. This involves staying away from smoking areas. If you have a family member that smokes, they should smoke outside the house.
Avoid cleaning agents that produce fumes.
Cleaning agents like bleaches produce fumes that can cause asthma attack. Sodium hypochlorite produces chlorine fumes.
Intense emotions and worry often worsen the symptoms so take steps to relieve stress in your life. Make time for things you enjoy doing – and for relaxation.
Avoid humid and polluted air.
To prevent asthma attacks, stay away from air polluted with industrial waste gasses. Find jobs that will not expose you to such conditions.
Reduce exercise that demand too much air.
Do light exercise to prevent exercise induced asthma.
Identify seasons that you get allergies.
Most asthmatic people have frequent attacks during flowering season due to pollen. Take preventive medication during these seasons.
Make sure people around you know you have asthma
Let people around you know that you have asthma as this will help them help you in case you have an attack.
Always have relief medicines with you.
Relief medicines are used to treat an asthmatic attack. Always have it with you and let people know how you use it. Salbutamol is a good one. Levo-salbutamol is even more effective. The two drugs are available as inhalers wile salbutamol is also available as rotacaps.
If you are a parent, let the teacher and coaches know your child has asthma.
This will help them know how to handle you child and help the child avoid allergens.
Be prepared – just in case.
Any place you go, know where the nearest hospital is in case you have an attack and relief medications fail to work
Perfumes are known to trigger asthma attacks. Stay away from them. For skin care, use non-perfumed petroleum jelly
Medications for asthma.
These can be divided into two.
Relievers and preventives
Examples of relievers are, salbutamol, levosalbutamol, Ipratropium, Formoterol, salmeterol, Terbutaline.
Examples of preventives are corticosteroids like budesonide, fluticasone. Leukotrienes inhibitors like montelukast.