Your doctor can offer treatments and suggestions for managing asthma, but there are plenty of things you can do yourself as well. A doctor can prescribe medication to help, but prevention is really the best medicine.
Because asthma can be triggered by so many things, there are lots of ways you can decrease the chances of an attack. The following are 10 of the easiest ways:
1. Follow your doctor’s orders. This kind of goes without saying, but do what your doctor tells you. Don’t stop taking medication if you’re feeling better, follow it according to the doctor’s recommendations. If he has you taking daily peak flow measurements, make sure you follow those instructions carefully.
2. Quit smoking. Cigarette smoke is one of the most common triggers for asthma, so if you smoke, quit. This should be the case whether it’s you that suffers from asthma or someone else in your household – second hand smoke is bad too.
3. Keep your house as dust-free as possible – dust is another one of the common triggers. Use a cylinder vacuum rather than an upright – preferably one that has a sealed canister to stop dust from escaping back into the air.
4. If possible, remove any carpets and heavy draperies from the house. They catch dust and are breeding grounds for dust mites. If they can’t be removed, make sure they get vacuumed regularly (again with a cylinder vacuum).
5. Avoid down and feather pillows or comforters and cover your mattress with plastic. Pillows and mattresses can also harbor dust mites, as can stuffed animals and other “soft” items.
6. Use a scarf to cover your nose and mouth in colder weather. Cold air is another common trigger for asthma.
7. If allergens trigger your asthma, keep track of the outside air quality every day. Avoid fields and wooded areas during pollen season and take extra care on days when the air quality is particularly bad.
8. Mold is another common asthma trigger. Dry wet laundry right away and wash and disinfect showers and bathrooms regularly, to help minimize the chance of mold growth.
9. Pet dander is another common trigger for many people. If you have pets, be sure to keep them out of the bedroom and main living areas to minimize the exposure to dander.
10. Avoid any foods, drinks or other items that may cause allergic reactions.