Monday, January 2, 2017

Asthma: Deal With It In Winter

Asthma is one of the most common chronic disease that involve the airways in the lungs. Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Asthma symptoms affect an estimated 26 million Americans — 19 million adults and 7 million children — and are one of the leading causes of absences from work and school. Every year, about 14 million Americans see a doctor for asthma. About 1.4 million patients visit a hospital outpatient department for asthma; almost 1.75 million go to a hospital emergency room. The number of people in the U.S. diagnosed with asthma is increasing. The greatest rise in asthma rates is among black children, with an almost 50 percent increase from 2001 through 2009.

According to the World Health Organization, about half the cases are due to genetic susceptibility and half result from environmental factors. Researchers estimate asthma-related costs, including the direct cost of health care and indirect costs such as decreased worker productivity, at around $60 billion annually. Although there is no cure for asthma, effective treatments are available.
Type Of Asthma:
1. Allergic (caused by exposure to an allergen)
2. Nonallergic (caused by stress, exercise, illnesses like a cold or the flu, or exposure to extreme weather, irritants in the air or some medications).

How Asthma Trigger:
Outdoor allergens (e.g: pollen from grass, trees and weeds)
Indoor allergens (e.g: pet dander, dust mites and mold)
Colds, the flu or other illnesses
Irritants in the air (e.g:  smoke, chemical fumes and strong odors)
Weather conditions
Certain drugs
Certain food additives

Asthma attacks may happen more often in the winter. Keeping your asthma under control may take a little more effort in the cold of winter. Certain steps can help you to prevent Asthma attack.

Get a flu shot: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that most people age 6 months and older get an annual flu shot to help protect against the flu virus. Having asthma won’t make you more susceptible, but if you do get the flu, the results could be more serious. Your doctor may also recommend that you get a pneumonia vaccine for extra protection.

Consider Allergy Shots: If your physician finds that you have allergies, allergy shots (immunotherapy) may help prevent allergy symptoms and worsening of asthma.

Avoid Colds: Do what you can to stay well. Avoid close contact with people who have a cold or the flu, because your asthma symptoms may worsen if you catch the infection from them.

Take your medications: Work with your doctor or asthma specialist to create an effective treatment plan, and continue to get regular checkups. If you find your asthma symptoms worsen in the cold weather, talk to a doctor on possibly changing the mediation.

Take steps to prevent asthma flares: Take a preventive dose of your asthma medicine before heading outside. Your inhaler will help open your airways and give you the extra protection you need. Identify and try to avoid things that make your asthma worse (asthma triggers). However, one trigger you should not avoid is physical activity. Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Talk with your doctor about medicines that can help you stay active.

Wash your hands: Washing your hands with soap and water is one of simplest and best ways to avoid spreading or catching colds and other viruses. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers also do the trick.

Keep your mouth closed: If this sounds like something your mom told you as a kid, you are not alone. Ideally, you want to breathe through your nose, not your mouth, when you are out in the cold because the nose warms up the air for the lungs.

Exercise indoors: On days when it is bitterly cold outside going to the gym instead of exercising outside. If you still want to exercise in the fresh air, choose a time of day when it might be warmer.

Have an asthma action plan: No matter what the season, you should always know what to do if asthma symptoms flare. Your action plan should detail how to control your asthma over the long run. Keep track of your asthma symptoms in an asthma diary for several weeks, detailing all the environmental and emotional factors that are associated with your asthma. When you have an asthma attack, go back to your asthma diary to see which factor, or combination of factors, might have contributed to it.

Avoid Smoke: Smoke and asthma are a bad mix. Minimize exposure to all sources of smoke, including tobacco, incense, candles, fires, and fireworks. Do not allow smoking in your home or car, and avoid public places that permit smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, get help to quit successfully. Smoking always makes asthma worse.

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