I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have asthma. I was diagnosed with asthma as a young child, and I have struggled with my breathing for most of my life. When I was younger, I depended a lot on medications and doctor’s visits, but now I manage my asthma pretty well on my own. I still need medicine occasionally, but I have figured out ways to lower the severity and frequency of my asthma attacks.
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
One of the best things any asthmatic can do is to eat foods that reduce inflammation. If you can prevent your bronchial tubes from getting inflamed, your asthma attacks will be less severe. I incorporate foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, fatty fish, ginger, and turmeric to reduce inflammation. I also stay away from inflammatory foods like trans fats, white sugar, and white flour.
Drink caffeine in moderation
One of my very first doctors recommended caffeine as an asthma treatment, and it worked well for me. Even as a child or teenager, I would have a little coffee or tea when I felt mild asthma symptoms coming on. Now there is evidence that caffeine does improve asthma symptoms, and it doesn’t even take a full cup of coffee. When I have a little asthma, I usually reach for another cup of black tea if it’s not a severe attack. This usually clears my asthma up completely, and I don’t get the jitters that I get from my inhaler.
Get daily aerobic exercise
As an asthmatic, it can be difficult to exercise at times, as exercise can bring on some pretty scary asthma attacks. However, I also know that if my lung capacity diminishes over time, my asthma will be harder to treat. Unless I’m having a really terrible time with my asthma, I try to exercise every day. Even a walk around the block helps, and I bring my inhaler with me. When I’m asthma free, I exercise one or two hours a day with brisk walking if I can. While this is more exercise than healthy people may need, I want to make sure my lungs are in good shape. Swimming is another great exercise for asthma, and whenever I have access to a pool, I swim as much as I can.
Not everyone has asthma that is triggered by stress, but I know that my asthma can be brought on by stressful situations. I have many means of dealing with stress in my life these days, and it has cut down on the number of asthma attacks I have. First and foremost, I try to prevent stress by avoiding stressful people and situations that don’t add anything to my life. I also practice yoga and meditation during stressful times, and I have learned how to calm myself with breathing exercises. I also make sure I get plenty of rest and downtime. While normal people can deal with a few meltdowns every now and then, for me, a meltdown means an asthma attack.
Avoid getting the flu and colds
As an adult, the worst asthma I ever get comes with the flu or a cold. I try to avoid contracting viruses as much as I can in order to make sure they don’t progress to respiratory infections. If a friend or family member is sick, I keep my distance. I wash my hands after I’ve been out in public. If I feel a cold or flu coming on, I put my life on hold and rest. This may seem extreme to some people, but for me, a cold is never just the sniffles.