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5 Ways to Fight Asthma in your Home

5 Ways to Fight Asthma in your Home

One of the most common diseases in first-world countries with symptoms often beginning in early childhood, asthma is a foe to be respected but not to be feared. This article is useful for those who have asthma and those who are reading to prevent it. Since it attacks children and is generally developed in our homes, there are a few things you need to know about asthma.

Asthma is a prevalent inflammatory disease of the airways that was known as long ago as ancient China and Egypt. Symptoms come in episodes distinctive for asthma and most commonly feature coughing, shortness of breath and overall tightness in the chest area. Asthma is a serious disease if left untreated and can lead to death.

If you or anyone you know have these symptoms, please contact your GP as soon as possible.

Because of the rising air pollution and lowered allergens resistances, asthma is on the rise especially in the USA and other developed countries. In 2014, around 24,000,000 people had asthma in the USA alone. Furthermore, the number of asthma diagnoses has increased by almost 60,000,000 cases in the period between 1990 and 2013 along with asthma being the underlying cause for around 490,000 deaths worldwide.

As you all probably know, asthma does not have a cure, but the symptoms can be dealt with, and it can be somewhat prevented. For those that do have asthma, it is imperative to use the inhaler correctly and to take any prescriptions your physician has prescribed for you regularly.

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However, the causes of asthma are both genetic and environmental meaning that are ways to improve the quality of life for those who have asthma as well as a chance to prevent it from occurring in our children. I have been battling with asthma almost my entire life, and I think it is safe to say that the key is to improve the air in your home, the overall cleanliness and to avoid known allergens.

Try the following tips to improve the air in your home:

1. Get rid of the dust

vacuuming

    Dust makes breathing difficult even for a healthy person so getting rid of it should be your first step. I am not implying that you should develop an overprotective cleaning disorder or that you will ever be able to clean all the dust. For visible results try to vacuum and dust your home as often as you feel it should be done but no less than once a week.

    Vacuuming is especially important if your floors are covered with rugs or carpets. Dust in its own right is not as dangerous as the dust mites, tiny insects that primarily live in the dust. They are known to be found in bed sheets and pillow casings so you wash them on the highest temperature settings every few weeks. In kid’s rooms, try to have as few as stuffed animals as possible as they collect dust quite rapidly. A strong and quality vacuum cleaner is an absolute necessity for asthma patients; here’s a guide to best vacuum cleaners for your home.

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    2. Air conditioning

    air-conditioning

      Air filtering is one of the most important factors you need to consider when dealing with asthma. Air conditioning units filter the air as a part of their basic operational methods. This is something that is clearly visible if you have ever washed the filters on your AC unit. The dark colors mainly come from dust particles and nicotine smoke.

      Be careful, however, with overcooling a room in the summer. Extreme changes in the temperature are known catalysts for asthma attacks. Also, use the kitchen and bathroom exhaust systems because odors such as those from cleaners and other chemicals are an asthma hazard. Proper maintenance of all venting units in your home is a must and probably best left to be done by a professional.

      3. Be careful with opened windows

      opened-window

        Even though your instinct tells you that keeping an open window will increase the flow of air, the truth is that you are best off keeping your windows shut and relying solely on the AC unit. As I have mentioned earlier, the main triggers for asthma are air pollution and known allergens, such as pollen. Keeping the windows open is basically inviting the allergens in your home. Regularly check the air quality index, as it will tell you how likely your allergies are about to be triggered.

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        Since asthma can be purely genetic, some people do not suffer from pollen allergies and in that case it is advisable to leave a window open. The nights, being naturally colder, are an excellent time to keep an open window since a decreased temperature in the bedroom means there is a higher chance of getting a good night sleep. I have had some pretty severe night-time asthma attacks and have realized that if I keep the bedroom temperature at around 16-18C, I can mainly prevent them (asthma is a subjective disease, and this might not work for you).

        4. Humidity

        humidifer

          With winter approaching, humidity becomes an issue in most homes. Cold air does not sustain humidity very well, and after warming up a room, the humidity drops as low as 10%. Dry air is quite hazardous for the respiratory system, especially one that is already battling with asthma. The best choice of action is to use a humidifier, preferably one with a monitoring system that tells you the exact level of humidity in a room.

          On the other hand, too much humidity creates an even bigger problem for those who have asthma. Too much humidity creates a very habitable place for mold, a known allergen and a cause of asthma. In damp areas, such as basements, I recommend using a dehumidifier, as well as getting rid of any existing mold. For the optimum settings, humidity should be kept at around 30% to 50% (here is where the humidity monitoring system comes in handy).

          5. Avoid any kind of smoke

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          no-smoking

            If you have asthma, smoking  is out of the question, but passive smoking can be as equally as dangerous. If you have asthma or someone else has it in your household, try to throw out the nicotine smoke completely. Not only will it make for a much better environment for the asthma patient but it also might convince the smoker to stop.

            Furthermore, any kind of smoke is dangerous when you have asthma. This means that if you have the option of choosing, you should avoid heating your house with wood or coal stoves and furnaces. The carbon monoxide that is being produced from the exhaust pipe is not only lethal in high doses but very unpleasant coupled with asthma even in small doses.

            Living with asthma

            I know that living with asthma doesn’t seem very fair, and you probably feel excluded from normal life activities, but it’s really not the end of the world. If you are careful and you follow your physician’s instructions, your attacks could become very rare. Try to live your life as healthy as possible and your friends and family, whom you should definitely inform, are the only ones that are going to know you have asthma.

            Do not let asthma run your life, feel free to enjoy some recreational sports, try a walk in the park (outside of the pollen season, of course) and breathe freely as if you own the entire world.

            Featured photo credit: www.sbs.com.au via sbs.com.au

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            12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

            12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

            Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

            But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

            I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

            Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

            1. Nuts

            The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

            Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

            Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

            Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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            2. Blueberries

            Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

            When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

            3. Tomatoes

            Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

            4. Broccoli

            While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

            Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

            Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

            5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

            Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

            The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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            Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

            6. Soy

            Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

            Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

            Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

            7. Dark chocolate

            When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

            Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

            15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

            8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

            Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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            B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

            Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

            Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

            To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

            9. Foods Rich in Zinc

            Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

            Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

            Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

            10. Gingko biloba

            This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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            It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

            However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

            11. Green and black tea

            Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

            Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

            Find out more about green tea here:

            11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

            12. Sage and Rosemary

            Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

            Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

            When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

            Reference

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