If you have asthma, no doubt you’re all too familiar with the wheezing, coughing and inability to draw a long, satisfying deep breath and the need for asthma treatment.
Of course, the pharmaceutical industry has gallantly come to the rescue of people around the world that suffer from this frustrating affliction. But, did you know? While asthma treatment and medications can help control symptoms, they can sometimes worsen them in the long run.
To add fuel to the fire, most asthma treatment medications also have some rather unpleasant side effects. They can affect our endocrine and immune systems and contribute to mood changes, acne, yeast growth and weight gain.
As if life isn’t tough enough.
So, if you’re looking for more holistic asthma treatment and preventers, we’ve gathered some helpful tips so you can take charge.
First, we’ll look at some things around the home that could be responsible for asthma flare-ups. And believe us when we say that in every home there will certainly be some.
Remove Household Irritants
No, we don’t mean super-annoying family members.
If only it were that easy.
Common asthma triggers include:
- Secondhand smoke from cigarettes and wood-burning stoves or fireplaces. Remove them by improving ventilation.
- Chemical-based cleaners – switch to natural cleaning products or make your own from baking soda, lavender oil and vinegar.
- Antibacterial soaps and disinfectants.
- Aerosol- and petroleum-based health and beauty products. That means a household favourite – vaseline – has gotta go.
Once you’ve got that sorted, try these suggestions on for size.
Get a Hit of Caffeine
If you’re having a mild wheeze, consider a caffeinated drink.
Caffeine is a weak bronchodilator that helps open up your airways. So, a shot of espresso may help your lungs work better for a few hours.
You may find you’re unable to sleep, but hey, at least you can breathe while counting sheep.
DIY Vapour Rub
If you don’t have an almost-empty jar of Vapour Rub from 1987 in the medicine cabinet, you can make your own homemade version.
Simply combine eucalyptus and peppermint oils and inhale deeply to open your airways.
Spice it Up
The anti-inflammatory effects of garlic and ginger have been shown to ease asthma symptoms.
Pop fresh garlic cloves or ginger root in boiling water and drink it like tea once it’s cooled. Or just throw greater quantities more often into your cooking.
We take no responsibility should your other half suddenly start avoiding you.
When you’re stressed, not only do all the muscles in your body tense up but so do the ones in your chest.
And going to town on a stress ball just isn’t going to cut it.
So instead, try managing tension through meditation, yoga or tai chi. A quick search on YouTube will display a whole host of free vids to wade through to pick your faves.
Get Some Rays
Many people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D, and people with severe asthma might be more likely to have such a deficiency.
But, sprawling out in your swimmers in the backyard may not be enough.
Instead, boost your vitamin D intake with:
- salmon, herring, sardines and tuna
- egg yolks,
- cod liver oil
- orange juice
Breathe, Baby, Breathe
Breathing exercises can help put those insolent lungs to work.
Try pursed-lip breathing – inhale through your nose, then exhale twice as slowly through pursed lips.
Or, try diaphragmatic breathing, also called belly breathing.
Get Hot & Steamy
If your mother didn’t shove your face over a bowl of boiling water laced with eucalyptus oil as a child, you might not be aware of the delightful benefits of steam. Or a mother’s unconditional yet traumatising love.
BUT, don’t be a galah and leave a child unsupervised with a pot of boiling water, yeah?
But, some people with asthma find steam soothing. Whether you break out a sweat in a sauna or shower, steam will help break down the mucus that can clog up your airways.
Top Tip! Know your triggers – some people find extreme heat worsens their asthma, rendering this tip completely worthless.
Watch the Weather
When you’ve got asthma, humidity, ultra-cold or uber-dry air may worsen your symptoms.
High humidity levels can create hot, stuffy environments that promote mould growth, dust mites, and other harmful bacteria.
Conversely, extremely low humidity levels suck all the moisture out of the air, which irritates your nose and lungs.
You can fix Mother Nature’s cruel joke by buying a humidifier or dehumidifier to regulate the air’s moisture levels.
Or hook yourself up with a reverse cycle air conditioner with a filtration system to tackle fine particles.
It’s also a good idea to check that your home is adequately ventilated to ensure it’s free from indoor air pollutants.
Move Your Butt
Regular exercise can strengthen your heart and lungs. But, unfortunately for some, vigorous exercise can bring on The Wheeze.
Staying active helps prevent obesity (which worsens asthma symptoms) and can improve immune function, lower stress levels and reduce inflammation.
Pocket your asthma treatment (i.e. an inhaler) as you suit up for a workout, just in case, and don’t forget to eat .
Switch on the AC
As winter turns to spring, we usually open our windows to welcome the warm sun and fresh air.
But, at this time of year, pollen is on the warpath.
The good news is, that modern air conditioning systems can remove airborne pollen, lower indoor humidity and reduce your exposure to nasty dust mites.
Just make sure you regularly clean the filters to avoid dust build-up.
TOP TIP! Daikin’s Alira reverse cycle air conditioners feature a titanium deodorising air purification filter that traps microscopic particles and destroys bacteria. It’s one of the only units on the market approved by the National Asthma Council Australia.
Break the Mould
The bathroom isn’t the only place you’ll find mould lurking. Watching you shower.
Mould spores are often invisible and airborne. And if ingested, they can cause severe respiratory problems for people with asthma.
So, keep damp indoor areas dry and remove mouldy leaves or wet firewood from the yard.
And if you have any teenagers in the house, check under the bed for mouldy food, plates and cups.
We recommend not touching anything else you find under there. But, if you do, move to step 12.
Sanitise and Quarantine
Not just a response to a pandemic, your household furnishings deserve to be included in the festivities.
Place dustproof covers over pillows, mattresses and box springs to minimise the dust that may worsen nighttime symptoms.
And don’t even think about using down-filled pillows and duvets.
Plus, dust, dust mites and mould could be lurking in your carpet. So, pull it up to expose those stunning hardwood floors or lay tiles or lino. We also recommend purchasing washable curtains.
Don’t Pander to Dander
If you know you’re allergic to pet dander, you obviously already know to avoid animals with fur or feathers.
However, if you can’t bear to be without your precious fur babies or feathered friends, at least have them bathed or groomed regularly.
Doing so can reduce the chances of finding dander on your furniture, clothes, food, and bed.
Don’t be a Slob
Clean your home at least once a week, and wash your bedding in hot water.
If cleaning stirs up too much dust and irritates your lungs, drag your COVID mask out and set to work.
Or, better yet, get someone to clean your home for you. Don’t ask your mum. Hire a professional.
Eat the Rainbow
Colourful produce is rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamins C and E that help fight inflammation in your lungs.
And, you know, it’s good for ya!
Ditch the Junk
Excess chest and belly fat can affect your airways.
Curbing your junk addiction and eliminating the above foods from your diet can help.
And perhaps you noticed foods that include sulphites trigger asthma symptoms. For example, you’ll often find sulphites in dried fruit, pickles, prawns and soft drinks (soda).
As well as most devastatingly, wine.
Take the Asthma Control Test
Want to know if you’re correctly controlling your asthma? Then, take the online Asthma Control Test. Answer just five questions and print out the results to discuss with your healthcare provider.
When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.
We get it.
Having asthma can really p*ss you off.
But, it doesn’t have to be a limiting condition.
Implement as many of the above asthma treatment and preventers as you feel comfortable doing for long-term management. Then, if you do feel wheezy, try one of the asthma treatment, like a cup of coffee or breathing exercises.
Then, when you find what works for you, you’ll be in a better place than you were the day before.
Stay Breezy ✌️