A combination of asthma drugs and lifestyle changes is the best way to improve the symptoms and keep this condition under control. There are quite a few home remedies that are effective and can be easily incorporated into your daily routines. Read on to learn more about how you can change your environment and habits to stay as healthy as possible.
Make adjustments at your home
Most cases of asthma are allergic asthma and a variety of allergens are in your home: dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold, chemicals from cleaning products, and paints. It may have some in the fridge and kitchen, too because food allergens are common as well. You can also bring pollen and other allergens from the outdoors on your clothes and shoes. Even if you have non-allergic asthma, it is still best to clean your home on a regular basis.
- Use hypoallergenic cleaning products. There are plenty of eco-friendly products in stores nowadays or you can make your own with vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. Some vacuum cleaners are based on steam only, look for brands that are certified and tested to eliminate dust mites and other allergens. Do not use regular air fresheners, as they contain many substances that can irritate the airways. Pure essential oils like eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil and ginger oil had been studied for their antiinflammatory effects to help manage symptoms of asthma, and COPD. They can be diluted and placed in a diffuser or a spray bottle. However, try a small amount first to make sure you are not sensitive to these oils.
- Clean your carpets and minimize furry, or fleece fabric that can hold a lot of allergens- especially in your bedroom. Steamer can be used on carpets, curtains, and any other places covered with fabric.
- Avoid mold build up by repairing right away any leaky roofs and plumbing , ventilate the home properly and keep the humidity in check. It is worth investing in a HEPA whole house air filter, or at least use portable air purifiers in the rooms you spend time in.
- What is inside your fridge ? Diet is important for keeping asthma symptoms under control. Eliminate all processed food, and stock your fridge with healthy snacks, fruits and veggies, lean meats and fish. Reduce the use of plastic containers and cooking utensils and choose instead glass, ceramic, bamboo and other hypoallergenic products.
- Pay attention to your personal care products, as regular shampoo, deodorants, make ups products contain hundreds of chemicals. Choose clean, hypoallergenic products for you and the entire family.
Natural remedies to help manage asthma symptoms
In case of an acute attack, you need to use rescue medicine as recommended by your doctor, according to your asthma action plan. Sit up, take slow breaths, and stay calm. If the symptoms are severe seek medical treatment right away.
To help manage asthma long-term, you may want to consider using breathing exercises on a regular basis. Try a few and see which one helps you the most. A 2007 study found that breathing exercises may help improve chronic, mild to moderate asthma and uncontrolled asthma.
- Try pursed lip breathing, as it helps keep the airways open for longer time, improving the airflow that goes in and out your lungs. This technique involves slow inhales through the nose with the mouth closed for 2-5 seconds. Breathe out slowly through the mouth with pursed lips for twice as long.
- Another great option is diaphragmatic or belly breathing. With this technique you slow down your breathing and thus need less energy to breathe.Choose a comfortable position, either sitting on a chair or lying down. Place one hand on your belly and the other one on your chest. Breathe in a way you feel your stomach raising, not the chest. Breathe in slowly through the nose, keeping your mouth closed. Breathe out slowly through the mouth, with pursed lips. Practice this technique for a few minutes.
- Lion’s breath. In yoga, this technique is known as simhasana and is a bit more advanced than the other two above. For this practice you need to kneel on a mat with your ankles crossed. Lean forward slightly. Keep your mouth open and stick your tongue out, and stretch it toward your chin, just like a lion. Breathe in deeply through the nose. When you breathe out, make a loud “ha” sound from your belly. Next, breathe normally a few times. Repeat 3- 7 times, and you can continue with deep breathing for another few minutes. Keep your eyes open and gaze on the ceiling or focus on the tip of your nose. Here is a short video showing how to perform this technique.
Neti pot is another great home remedy, used for thousands of years in traditional Indian medicine. Neti pot or nasal irrigation keeps the nasal passages clean and moist, helping improve symptoms of asthma, allergies, and sinus inflammation. Neti pots are available in most pharmacies. Choose distilled water to make sure you don’t introduce germs in your airways, and the salt without additives. Saline nose drops are also available in health food stores.