Coughing and more coughing. A tight throat. I couldn’t live with these symptoms wracking my body. I battled it especially at work, sometimes having to stop and take a long break just to catch my breath. Finally, I went to the doctor to find out why I suffered this problem.
I started with my primary care doctor. He asked me some questions and ordered some breathing tests. When the results pointed toward asthma, he referred me to a pulmonologist. To get control of my symptoms, I was placed on an inhaled steroid. I was also prescribed an emergency inhaler, Albuterol.
There are five things that have helped me cope with Asthma:
–Always carry your emergency inhaler. This is crucial. You never know when something can trigger an attack, and you need to be able to stop it quickly. Whenever I felt my throat getting tight and not relaxing, I would use this medicine. If I didn’t, the symptoms would get worse and recovery took hours.
–Follow your doctor’s advice. Even though I was wary of taking a steroid twice a day, I really needed it to heal. After a few months, I breathed better and needed my emergency inhaler less. After that, I only required the steroid when I was seriously ill.
–Keep allergies in check. This was one of my triggers. Having seasonal allergies, I was already getting inflammation and mucus in my airway. See if something in your environment aggravates your breathing. By taking the allergy medication recommended by my doctor, I avoided one cause of my attacks.
–Reduce stress. Anxiety would also set off my asthma. Working in the lab, I had two factors that set off my symptoms: high stress and noxious chemicals. While I continued in that field, I took advantage of my breaks to relax. My physician also prescribed a low-dose anti-anxiety medication. Eventually I realized that I could benefit from leaving the job altogether, and have not needed that medicine since.
–Take care of your general health. Exercise regularly and eat a nutritious diet. Preventing illness reduces your chances of having an asthma crisis. Even basic handwashing is important for this!
By following these steps, my struggles with this condition are greatly reduced. I use my emergency inhaler perhaps three times a year, and lead an active and healthy life.