Limit asthma attacks by learning how to anticipate and prevent them.
You will need: a medical doctor, knowledge of symptoms, warning signs, and triggers, preventive measures, a peak-flow monitor.
Step 1: Recognize the symptoms
Recognize asthma symptoms, which include wheezing, breathing problems that become worse after physical activity, coughing fits, especially at night or when lying down, and colds that last more than ten days. A family history of asthma increases your chances of having the disease.
Step 2: See a doctor
If you suspect you have asthma, have a medical doctor evaluate your condition. You may benefit from daily medication to prevent attacks. You may also need to carry a quick-reliever, like an inhaler, in case an attack occurs.
Contrary to what some people think, cough medicine doesn't relieve asthma symptoms.
Step 3: Know the warning signs
Learn to recognize the warning signs of an attack so you can treat it before it becomes severe. Common symptoms include chest tightness, coughing, spitting up phlegm, wheezing, and a whistling noise when you breathe.
Step 4: Avoid triggers
Try to avoid or limit your exposure to things that spark attacks. Common triggers include pollen, mold, dust, animals, tobacco smoke, smog, strenuous exercise, certain cleaning products, perfume, cold air, and aspirin and other pain relievers. To reduce contact with dust mites, use mattress and pillow covers, don't use down bedding, and don't sleep with stuffed animals on your bed.
Step 5: Monitor your attacks
Get a peak-flow meter, a device that measures airflow from the lungs. Blow into the meter when you're not having an attack to determine your "personal best" reading. You can compare the number against future measurements, helping to confirm when an attack may be imminent and determine if your medicine is working.
Step 6: Know when to get help
Go to the emergency room if you can't speak m
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