Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways which is commonly associated with chest tightness, recurrent wheezing, coughing and breathlessness. Asthmatics often have to use inhalers in order to feel better. Many different environmental, psychological and dietary factors can trigger the symptoms of asthma, leaving the asthmatic feeling sickly, unfit or inadequate.
According to American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, and by the year 2025, these figures will grow by more than 100 million. In severity, asthma varies from person to person and changes seasonally which often makes it difficult to understand how an asthmatic can be helped or made comfortable.
We’ll share a number of options to consider when living or spending time with someone who has asthma so that they can feel more comfortable and help ease their pain.
Environments that Can be Harmful to People with Asthma
Never Smoke Near Asthmatic People
If you are in the vicinity of a person with asthma, don’t light up your cigarette without asking. Smoking makes it difficult for an asthma patient to breathe and it may even trigger an asthma attack. Even if the person only has mild asthma, second-hand smoking can lead to serious health risks, so be sure to never blow smoke at them.
Asthma Can Get Worse From Dust
If you’re living with an asthma patient, remember that dust can present serious risks and significantly affect their breathing. Luckily, it’s very easy to handle dust issues. Make sure to keep the house well ventilated by opening windows for few hours. Mopping, vacuuming and dusting regularly is also important to ensure that the dust does not build up in the house.
Pets Can be Dangerous
Often times, pets’ fur can aggravate the symptoms of asthma. This should always be kept in mind when deciding to buy a pet if you live with a person who has asthma. If you own a pet already, keep it well-groomed and also keep the sofas, bed and other furniture clean from their fur.
Perfumes Can Cause a Reaction
Some deodorants and perfumes can affect the airways of an asthma patient and make it difficult for them to breathe. When you spray perfumes, make sure that your asthmatic friend or family member is not in the room, or use subtle fragrances instead of strong ones.
Keep Them Stress-Free
Stress psychologically affects our immune system. During high stress, the immune system becomes weak as the brain diverts most of the internal resources towards immediate survival instead of focusing on the wellbeing in the long term. When stressed, asthmatics start to suffer from acute asthma symptoms like breathlessness or shortness of breath.
Stressful situations are often exacerbated by loneliness, isolation and inability to cope with the disease. Offering to provide help with their work or just chatting with them can often work better than any other remedy and help reduce their symptoms.
Sensitivity to Some Medicines
Approximately 10-20% of adults with asthma have a sensitivity to a group of painkillers called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. To reduce fever and treat pain, these drugs are used frequently and for an asthma patient, without these drugs, it becomes difficult to treat a headache, cold or a cough.
The label of the medicine should always be checked before buying them for an asthmatic to avoid harmful reactions. A doctor should be made aware of the patient’s condition so that they take precautions when prescribing the medicines.
Hard Time with Colds and Cough
Asthma patients frequently suffer from inflamed airways which make colds and coughs quite distressing for them. If you know a person who has asthma, you should encourage them to adopt a diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits as it would bolster their immune system to fight colds and coughs.
If your family member suffers from asthma, keep cold and cough medicines readily available to ease their illness, but be cautious of medicines that can aggravate the symptoms.
Breaks are Required During Exercise
An asthmatic should not be expected to compete with others in strenuous activities. Asthma patients can perform routine work, but it should be remembered that they are likely to take more time to recover from labor or an exercise and frequent breaks may be needed for them to recuperate. An asthmatic may feel inadequate because of this so never make an issue of it.
Living with an asthmatic is not burdensome and with just a few changes, you can make life easier for them. Maintain an open environment so that whenever they need help, they can reach out to you for assistance and comfort.