Asthma is a common lung condition that affects the airways, resulting to wheezing and shortness of breath. In fact, 1 in 13 people, or about 25 million individuals, are known to have asthma in the United States alone—more prevalent in children than in adults. Since the disease causes the swelling of the airways, people with asthma need to know how to effectively manage their condition.
While there is no known cure for this chronic lung condition, asthma can be easily controlled through proper prevention and prompt treatment.
How asthma is diagnosed
Before knowing how to effectively manage asthma at home, you need to seek professional medical advice from your doctor, who will be able to diagnose your asthma based on your family and medical histories as well as your physical and diagnostic test results. Your doctor will also determine the severity of your condition, which will be the basis for your asthma treatment.
During the assessment, your doctor may ask about any allergies or family history of asthma, which can be triggering your symptoms and causing your condition. After the physical exam, you will be required to undergo a series of diagnostic tests for confirmation, including a spirometry, which will test your lung function. Other tests include allergy testing, to find out which allergens cause your symptoms to flare up, as well as a bronchoprovocation, which will measure how sensitive your airways are.
Following an asthma action plan
Once you are diagnosed with asthma, you can work with your doctor in creating a written document known as an asthma action plan. This plan will teach patients to control asthma during stable times and to be able to tell when the condition is worsening. This home program includes clear instructions on taking asthma medications and complete education on the difference between maintenance and quick-relief medications.
An effective asthma action plan will also guide patients on how to monitor their asthma on a daily basis, especially for those with mild or intermittent persistent asthma. During the monitoring, you will be required to monitor your peak flow levels to keep track on how your lungs are holding up.
Since the goal of asthma treatment is to prevent symptoms and attacks to be able to carry on with life’s day-to-day activities, the action plan provides a list of environmental control measures that you need to take in order to achieve that goal.
Effective home remedies for asthma
The goal of asthma treatment is to minimize discomfort that may hinder you to perform certain activities. By religiously following your asthma action plan, you will be able to minimize your emergency visits and doctor’s consultations.
The simplest way to avoid the flaring up of your asthma symptoms is to identify your triggers and avoid them as much as possible. Simple home remedies that you can start with include using an air conditioner or a dehumidifier, decontaminating your home decors and furniture, and getting rid of pet dander. It is also important to know which medicines to take. For instance, cough medicine does not actually relieve asthma symptoms and may cause adverse effects instead. On the other hand, aspirin and other drugs of the kind can worsen an asthma attack.
When to seek emergency care
If any of the abovementioned remedies do not relieve an asthma attack, seek medical attention right away. Immediately call 911 if you are unable to walk or talk due to shortness of breath, or if your lips and fingernails have turned blue. At the hospital, you will be monitored more closely and given oxygen and proper medications. In emergency situations, the healthcare team will keep track of your blood oxygen levels using SpO2 sensors of a pulse oximeter to assess if your body is receiving the right amount of oxygen that it needs.
While asthma is a serious condition that should not be taken for granted, this should not get in the way of a quality life. With proper management and treatment, people with asthma can definitely still live healthy, normal, and happy lives.