Asthma affects about 25 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medication is necessary to control asthma symptoms and ease attacks, but sufferers have other options and techniques to lessen the effects of the chronic respiratory disease. The good news is that these methods benefit all family members.
Keep Your Air Clean
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Your first line of defense is your HVAC system. Common asthma triggers are airborne particles and allergens. The air in many homes is worse than the air outside because of dust, dander, mold, and other particles trapped indoors. Make sure the air in your home is as clean as possible.
Have your HVAC unit serviced regularly by a professional, who can also make sure it is working properly. The technician may suggest other accessories that could help limit asthma attacks, such as a UV lamp that kills microbes that grow within the HVAC system. An air purifier can also help. It uses an electrical charge to kill tiny microbes and fungi that pass through.
It’s essential to have a good HVAC air filter that removes pollen and dust from the air. They should be replaced about every month to ensure they are working at peak efficiency.
If you have an asthma sufferer in your home, choose a filter with a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). The scale is 1-16. Filters with a MERV rating of 1-4 trap less than 20 percent of pollen and dust mites. Filters with MERV ratings of 13-16 trap more than 90 percent of pollen and smaller particles, such as those in smoke and bacteria.
Improve Your Diet and Exercise
Exercise helps to improve your overall respiratory condition. One type of exercise to consider is swimming. It greatly increases lung capacity. Plus, the moister air in a pool can help ward off exercise-induced asthma attacks.
A healthy diet that includes items high in protein plus many fruits and vegetables can help. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that may aid your lungs.
Scientists in Italy found that people with asthma who exercised regularly and ate a healthy diet had a 50 percent improvement in their asthma symptoms compared with those who did neither. Those who either exercised or improved their diet improved about 30 percent.
Stay Ahead of Triggers
Another way to help control asthma symptoms is to know what triggers attacks. According to WebMD, common triggers include cigarette smoke, air pollution, allergies, and a cold or flu.
Do your best to avoid smoke, including tobacco smoke. Exposure to cigarette smoke will make your asthma much worse. Also limit your exposure to colds and flu. Stay away from those who are sick, and wash your hands thoroughly. In addition, consider a flu vaccine. People with asthma generally struggle with the flu and are hospitalized more often.
There is no cure for asthma, but precautions like these will help you feel better. Make sure the air in your house is a clean as possible, eat right, exercise, and avoid smoke and other triggers.