Rains bring in cool weather and lush greenery. But some people tend to become sick with rains, people suffering from asthma being one of them.
Asthma is a state where air tubes of the lungs become inflamed and narrowed. They close due to exposure to certain substances called allergens, which produce allergy in the susceptible individual. The affected person suffers from cough and breathing trouble.
Asthma is an inherent tendency of the body, therefore one remains susceptible to it throughout his life. With every exposure to the potential allergens like dust, pollens, dampness, cold climate, etc. one gets an attack. In view of the chronic, incurable nature of the disease, it is important that people suffering from asthma should learn how to manage it. One should know by experience what are the substances provoking an attack and try to avoid them. Common allergy producing substances which can be avoided are cosmetics.
Regarding food items, protein rich food like eggs, milk products and beans are more likely to produce allergy.
Preserved canned food, other fast foods and bottled beverages are likely to provoke asthma because of the chemicals present in them as preservatives, colouring or flavouring agents. One can judge very well, what foods are causing allergy. A person can remove an item from his daily food menu for 3 to 4 days and then add again.
The day he consumes some food causing allergy, he will develop symptoms of asthma. Other days he will be comfortable.
To avoid exposure to dust, spores, etc., one should use a scarf or mask to cover nose in situations with likely exposure to dust. Exposure to cold should be avoided by wearing warm clothes.
Physical and mental stress is also one of the factors which can provoke an attack and should be avoided. Mental relaxation techniques like meditation are very useful to prevent attacks of asthma.
If after preventive measures one still gets cough and or breathlessness, it is wise to use an inhaler immediately. Inhalers are portable hand held devices which supply medicine through inhalation.
The drug when taken by the inhaled route provide relief within 15 to 20 minutes, while when swallowed, it takes more than 30 minutes for the action to start and more than one-and-half hour for the affected person to get some relief. While using medicine by inhaled route, adverse effects produced due to orally taken tablets are avoided.
When somebody experiences the symptoms of asthma, he or she can immediately take 2 puffs of inhaled medicine, with a gap of 30 seconds apart. If used correctly, one will obtain relief within 10 or 15 minutes. In chronic asthma one can use inhalers 2 to 3 times each day. However if the requirement of inhaler exceeds more than 3 to 4 times daily, it is better to take tablets orally as prescribed by a physician.
In case of school going children suffering from asthma, they should be provided with inhaler or drugs to keep with them in school. School authorities should also be informed about the asthmatic status of the child, so that in case of any problem occurring, child can be provided with first aid immediately.
A person suffering from asthma can have a good quality of life just by following some precautions and keeping himself equipped with medication. Asthma can be life threatening, therefore symptoms should be arrested at the earliest.
Dr. Rachna Pande is a Specialist in internal medicine