How to decrease respiratory disease triggers

How to decrease respiratory disease triggers

If you have had a cold or suffered from allergies, you know
what it feels like to have trouble breathing. For women with respiratory
diseases such as asthma, breathing troubles can become a permanent, rather than
temporary, problem. If you have a respiratory disease, the right medical
treatment—and learning how to manage your condition—can help you breathe

Reducing your contact with triggers that can make your
breathing problems worse is a must for managing your illness. Here are some
things you can do:

Quit smoking. The best thing you can do for your overall health
is to quit. Also, avoid secondhand smoke—only smoke-free environments will ensure
your safety from tobacco chemicals that irritate your lungs.

Avoid breathing chemicals. Stay away from strong cleaning or
chemical agents whenever possible or wear a mask and use them in well-aired spaces.
Avoid dust, dry-cleaning and cosmetic chemicals, asbestos, coal dust, soot,
paint and chemicals used in construction, and wood and furniture refinishing

Plan outdoor time carefully. Avoid being outdoors as much as
possible during allergy season—spring and fall. Keep your house and car windows
closed, and wash your clothes and vacuum once you come inside.

Watch when and where you get physical activity. Try to walk
or be physically active early in the morning or later in the evening (before
and after rush hour traffic). Fewer cars on the roads will help you avoid car
fumes. Consider finding an area to be physically active that is less crowded
but not so empty as to be unsafe. Another option is to be physically active
indoors. Fitness equipment and indoor tracks, tennis, basketball, volleyball,
and racquetball courts allow you to exercise without going outside. Being
indoors also helps you control the air temperature so you can avoid cold, dry
air. If you have exercise-induced asthma, you might start to have trouble
breathing within 5 to 20 minutes after physical activity. Warming up with short
bursts of activity might help relieve your asthma symptoms. Physical activity
that involves only short bursts of activity or activity that you stop and start
again, such as walking, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, or baseball, tends
to be better for people with exercise-induced asthma. Swimming is also good
because you are breathing warm, moist air instead of cold, dry air. You can get
medicine to take several minutes to an hour before you begin physical activity
to prevent an asthma attack.

Manage stress and prevent panic attacks. Panic attacks
brought on by stress can cause trouble breathing. Prevent panic attacks by
managing stress: lighten your load, learn to say no, share tasks with coworkers
or family members, make time for yourself, get enough sleep, and manage your
time better. (See pages 208–210 of the Mental Health chapter for more
information about stress.)

Prevent the flu and pneumonia by getting vaccinated.
Influenza, or the flu, and pneumonia are respiratory infections that can cause
serious problems in people with respiratory diseases. Getting flu and pneumonia
shots can greatly reduce your risk of these problems.

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