In the United States, nearly 20 million adults and 7 million children suffer from asthma, accounting for over 14 million doctor visits and nearly 2 million emergency department visits.
Asthma is a serious respiratory disease, resulting in more than 3000 deaths each year. While it’s very important to be under the supervision of a health professional if you suffer from asthma, there are also a number of positive steps you can take to naturally improve asthma symptoms:
- Improve indoor air quality
Irritants and allergy triggers in your home are a common culprit for triggering or worsening asthma symptoms. Ideally, humidity levels in your home should be under 50% to help control the growth of mold and dust mites. Carpet is a common source of dust, dust mites, and mold and ideally should be eliminated from your home, if possible. If not, be sure to vacuum weekly with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner. It may be necessary to wear a mask while vacuuming to avoid an asthma attack. Also eliminate toxic cleaning chemicals, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and air fresheners. These products contain harsh chemicals that contribute to inflammation in your airways. Also consider using a shower filter, as the chlorine byproducts in chlorinated water are significant respiratory irritants.
- Make your bedroom an asthma-free refuge
We spend around a third of our lives in bed and quality rest is essential for your well being. Keep your bedroom clean and uncluttered to avoid dust and other asthma triggers. A high quality HEPA air filter can help get rid of microscopic allergy triggers that you can’t see. Look for allergy covers for your mattress, box spring, and pillows, but be sure to avoid vinyl or other materials that outgas lung-irritating chemicals. Washing your bedding weekly in hot water and drying on a high temperature in the dryer helps kill pesky asthma-triggering pests like dust mites and mold.
- Make healthy dietary choices
The foods you eat play an important role in controlling inflammation. During an asthma attack, the lung pathways became inflamed, making it difficult to take in enough air. Eating foods that help reduce inflammation in the body will also help control asthma. Opt for a plant-based diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds as well as legumes with a limited amount of dairy and healthy fats, such as olive oil. Avoid processed foods, excess sweeteners, refined vegetable oils, and meat. Flax oil is helpful for controlling inflammation and vitamin C has been found to help reduce asthma symptoms.
- Identify and avoid asthma triggers
It can take a little sleuthing, but being aware of common asthma triggers can go a long way towards getting asthma symptoms under control. Smoke, dust, incense, and fragrances can all contribute to an asthma attack. Stress can also be a contributing factor. Pay attention to the circumstances surrounding your asthma attacks and see if there is a common thread that can be adjusted or avoided.
- Use complementary medicine
Complementary medicine, such as acupuncture, herbs, and nutritional supplements can be helpful to boost the immune system and reduce the inflammation response that is integral to asthma. Treatments can take some time to have effects, so give each treatment a chance before deciding whether it’s helping your symptoms or not.