Identifying asthma triggers is an important step in managing this condition, which are often allergic or seasonal. In addition, we've got 8 easy lifestyle tips to make sure you or your loved one stays breathing easy.
Start with some caffeine. A cup of high-test coffee or two cans of caffeinated soda can help open your airways. Caffeine is similar to one of the main medications used to treat asthma. See if your doc gives you the thumbs up to give it a try for non-emergency situations.
Take Up an Instrument
Consider taking up a wind instrument, like a trumpet, clarinet, or saxophone. These instruments can increase lung capacity, strengthen the diaphragm, and diminish asthma symptoms. The only catch is that you have to keep your instrument clean. Otherwise, mold and bacteria can make your symptoms worse!
Exercise, Rest, Repeat
If exercise tends to trigger your asthma, switch to a sport that includes breaks. Instead of running that 5K, try tennis, golf, yoga, volleyball, or softball. These sports have moments downtime when you’ll have a few seconds to catch your breath before getting back into the action, and it might be just enough of a “breather” to prevent an attack. Ask your doctor if one of these sports could work for you.
Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
Some studies have shown that the antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene may help people whose asthma is triggered by exercise. Tomatoes (in many forms, including raw, cooked, and processed) offer a particularly concentrated form of lycopene. Other good sources are apricots, guavas, and watermelon. Carrots, of course, are an excellent source of beta-carotene, as are pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and dark, leafy greens. Add more of these healthy foods to your diet, and you just might be breathing easier!
Cover Up in Cold Weather
Some people find cold air invigorating, but if you have asthma you should take care because that bracing blast can provoke an attack. On cold winter days, cover your mouth or nose with a scarf or shawl so that you’re always breathing in nice warm, humid air.
Send Smells Packing
Just as air temperature can affect asthma, so too can strong food odors. When you’re frying up onions or using lots of spices, use an exhaust fan or open a window to send those smells outside and keep your lungs happy.
Mind the Mold
Keep the bathroom clean. Mold buildup in the home can trigger asthma, and the bathroom is usually ground zero. Use the bathroom fan to help whisk away excess humidity. Also, after you take a shower, wipe down the tiles with a towel or a squeegee so that mold never has a chance to start growing and irritating your lungs. It may take a few minutes of extra work a day, but it’s worth it for the relief it will provide you.
Root Out Those Roaches
Cockroaches are a known asthma trigger. They produce substances that can cause allergies and aggravate asthma symptoms. What’s worse, they’re troublesome both living and dead because as they decompose they create a dust that can trigger an attack. To eliminate roaches, sprinkle boric acid wherever you’ve seen the pests, usually in the kitchen and bathroom; keep humid areas like the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and shower dry after using them; and store food in air-tight containers in the pantry.