You may have heard chilling stories about children who have died from intense asthma attacks, even so the truth is, if you manage your asthma by cautiously following all the advised steps, your risks of experiencing a life-threatening asthma flare are immensely decreased. Well-managed asthma is unlikely fatal. Fatal asthma cases commonly occur because people have discontinued their prescribed medication or neglect their condition. Those with uncontrolled asthma commonly have a long history of frequent intense asthma flares and visits to the ER. However, even those with mild asthma can have a severe flare. As long as you take your health condition seriously and closely follow these tips, you may reduce the risk of fatal attacks.
Create and follow asthma action plan. It is vital that you observe your condition by creating and following an action plan. It outlines required daily symptoms and treatment and provides elaborate, step-by-step directions to follow in case you have a flare.
Use a peak-flow meter. Daily exposure to triggers may increase airway inflammation on many people, but they are often not aware of it. By listening to how you are breathing, it won’t give you a complete sense of what is really happening, so it is necessary to have a more objective way in measuring your breathing. Your breath may sound natural even as your air passages are getting inflamed and narrower. This makes your air passages vulnerable to an asthma flare. A good way to track what is going on is to evaluate your lung function with a peak-flow meter any day. It is a quick, simple way to measure breathing effectiveness quickly if you feel a flare is imminent. Because it may not always be possible to know that you are slowly getting worse, this tool is a good way to know what is going on inside. If your peak-flow reading falls, it’s a sign that your air passages are getting inflamed. The meter can easily pick up even subtle signs of airway obstruction and inflammation, even if you feel perfectly fine. Sometimes, the peak-flow readings may fall two to three days before you get a flare, which gives you a lot of time to prevent and treat breathing problems. Observing your peak flow a couple of days previously also help to know if you should or shouldn’t take more medication. If reading fluctuates almost daily, this means you are not able to manage your asthma good enough; in this case, you may need to ask the doctor to change or adjust your drugs. If the reading drops and doesn’t get better very much after the use of inhaled bronchodilator medication, it means more aggressive treatment is necessary. But remember, you shouldn’t take more medications on your own. Only your doctor is allowed to increase the doses.
Avoid triggers. If you have identified triggers that may cause flares, you will be able to avoid them. It is necessary to control pollens, mold, animal dander, and rats in your house (particularly in your bedroom).
Regularly take your medications. Medications should be taken exactly as they’re supposed to, even if you can breathe well. Skipping your medication can make you prone to more frequent and more severe flares. And regardless of how good you are feeling, you should keep your emergency medications with you all the time. Many children are rushed to the ER simply because their emergency inhaler is left behind at home.
Go to the doctor periodically. If you suffer asthma, you need to see your doctor at least once every two months. This allows your doctor check how you are doing, track your symptoms, refill prescriptions, and make necessary changes in your action plan. Especially if you suffer an asthma flare if you have a flu; you may need to get an annual flu inoculation before November. All family members also need to get a shot. If a flare is imminent, be sure to be ready to contact your doctor if things get quite serious. It’s better to regularly visit a doctor’s office instead of a rush to emergency room.
Look for early warning signs. One good way to determine that a flare is imminent is to look for slight changes that show that your medications should be adjusted immediately. These signs could not definitively imply that a flare is imminent, but they can assist you plan ahead. A few people notice that their breathing or mood changes. Other people say they just feel “weird.” These symptoms may not always mean you are definitely going to experience a flare, in this busy society; our mood can change radically and quickly without necessarily related to asthma. But eventually, you may learn how you can respond to an imminent asthma flare, and distinguishing these slight symptoms will be quite easy. Early warning signs will help you to respond to asthma quickly. The action plan should explain how you can correct your medication each time there are slight changes.
Recognize signs of an imminent severe flare. Most people with asthma have tolerable flares much more frequently than severe attacks. Severity may vary from one flare to the next. Occasionally flares seem to happen without warning, all of a sudden you are unable to catch your breath, or you begin to cough and wheeze. It’s essential to know the preliminary signs of a severe attack. Because they can be fatal, asthma flares require attention. You should take rescue medication or visit the ER. The asthma action plan may help you find out what to do when experiencing signs of a serious asthma flare.
Observe your diet. You should try to eat six lighter meals rather than three standard ones. Doctors typically recommend lighter, more frequent meals for those with serious lung problems, as many of these people may get breathing problem with a full stomach. It is because the diaphragm does not work as well when your stomach is full. By eating lighter, more frequent meals, it is possible to still get enough nutrition and allowing the diaphragm to move. Lighter, more frequent meals also decrease the risk of heartburn (acid reflux), which is a typical problem with asthma sufferers. Also, you shouldn’t wait to eat until you are starving or very exhausted. As you chew, you need to breathe evenly, and if you need to catch your breath, stop eating.
One good way to avoid having an uncomfortably full belly is to avoid consuming foods that cause gas, for example:
- carbonated drinks
- brussels sprouts
- spicy foods
- raw onions
Make adjustments on your lifestyle. If you experience asthma, there are some lifestyle adjustments you can do to make you less susceptible to allergens. For example, by leading a healthy lifestyle, eating well, get enough sleep, and get plenty of regular exercise. You could consider losing some weight; some researchers believe there is a relation between having an increased risk of asthma and being overweight. Finally, watch your stress level. An average person has many things to cope with, doing well at work; dealing with kids, driving, exercises, and managing financial problems. Is it any wonder that you are feeling stressed out? But feeling stressed and anxious can make you worn out, which can set off asthma symptoms. You should try to get a handle of your stress level and talk to your spouse, a trusted friend, or therapist if you feel powerless.