Constriction of the air way and increased mucosal discharge due to an altered allergic response causes obstruction of airflow leading to labored breathing this is known as Asthma. It is a very common disorder affecting children (Asthmatic Bronchitis) more than adults. An episode of Asthmatic attack may be mild and pass away quickly or at times may be severe and lasting longer requiring immediate medical help.
The causes of Asthma are many fold and most often they are a combination of multiple factors triggering the Asthma attack.
Common causes of Asthma include:
- Genetic/Hereditary and familial tendency – Allergens like Pollen and molds from grass, flowers and trees.
- Environmental factors exposure to smoke, dust, pollution, petrol fumes, exposure to chemicals, strong perfumes, paints, varnishes, etc.
- Mental stress- Infection of the lung, which can be bacterial, viral predisposes to asthma.
- History of other allergic disorders or Asthma in parents predisposes a person to Asthma. – Childhood history of recurrent allergic respiratory infections is found in most asthmatic patients.
Depending on his susceptibility, various factors work as triggers in inducing an asthmatic attack. Some common triggering factors are as given below:
- Emotional stress is a known trigger factor for an asthmatic attack.
- Over strenuous exercise.
- Inhalation of cold air.
- Climatic changes.
- Certain drugs like aspirin, etc.
All Asthma attacks may not have these symptoms and the symptoms of Asthma vary from one person to another. The intensity and duration of the symptoms also vary during each episode of Asthma.
- Coughing:There may be cough, sometimes with phlegm. It is often worse at night or early in the morning thus making it difficult to sleep.
- Wheezing: A whistling sound produced due to air passing through constricted air ways.
- Chest tightness: Sensation as if something is squeezing the chest.
- Shortness of breath: Mild to moderate shortness of breath and shortness and rapid breathing follow with a feeling of anxiety and sweating. The person is unable to lie down on the back. Usually the sufferer finds comfort in sitting bent forwards and near the windows.
Asthma in all age groups can be effectively treated with Homeopathic medicines. Conventionally it is treated with steroids and bronchodilators with temporary relief. Homeopathic medicines act at the deeper immune level. The allergic nature, genetic predisposition, stress, etc. all these factors are taken into consideration before prescribing an individualized constitutional medicine. The effective result being the medicines give relief from the existing symptoms like breathlessness, wheezing, cough, etc. The intensity, duration, and recurrence of the Asthmatic attacks can be controlled with Homeopathic medicines.
Homeopathic medicines are not habit forming unlike steroids and bronchodilators. They can be used along with the conventional medicines and long term management with Homeopathic medicines help to over come the dependence on steroids and bronchodilators.Homeopathic medicines are safe and gentle; they do not have any adverse reaction. They can be given to patients of all age groups and even infants and pregnant and nursing mothers.
Dos & Don’ts for Asthmatics:
- Try to recognize the trigger factors that bring on your attack, so that you can avoid them. There are three steps to be taken when dealing with an allergy. Firstly, identify the cause or allergen Secondly, avoid it. Thirdly, if avoidance is impossible, treat the symptoms. Keep a diary and try to trace a pattern or relation between your allergic reaction and the allergen. E.g. Sneezing while doing housework could mean you are allergic to house dust.
- In families with history of allergy (asthma, eczema), avoid artificial milk, eggs, cocoa, juices & wheat preparations till completion of 6 months in infants. Breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months to strengthen the immune system and avoid contact with allergens.
- Avoid foods & drinks that are known to cause a problem such as vinegar, lemon juice, grapes, instant tea, corn syrup, fruit toppings, cold food & drink, canned vegetables, beer and wine.
- Avoid smoke, pollution, dust as far as possible.
- Take steps to deal with stress, anxiety and tension as these can influence the frequency and severity of symptoms.
- Good nutrition, balanced diet, adequate rest and relaxation will be beneficial.
- Yoga can help you by breathing exercises.
- Ask your doctor regarding emergency medication to help you till you reach him.
How to avoid Allergens:
- Pollen: During Pollen season it is advisable avoid outdoors activities early in the morning as most Pollens are maximum before 10 am in most cases. Work indoors with proper ventilation and air conditioning. While driving you may role up the windows to avoid exposure to pollens.
- Cold Drafts: Wear adequate protective clothing to prevent exposure to direct dry cold drafts. Breathing through nose ensures that the air you breathe in gets relatively warmed while passing along the passage and thus does not act as an irritant.
- Smoke: Avoid cigarette smoke and other sources of smoke like fireplace, bonfires, bursting crackers, etc.
- Pollution: Avoid staying or working in polluted areas, where you will be exposed to smog, dust, industrial dust and fumes, damp, etc.
- Mold: Keep your environment (vents, air conditioners filters, etc) clean and dry to avoid mold growths. Scrub surfaces and thoroughly dry them to prevent moisture and mold growths. You may use a dehumidifier in the home and clean it every day.
- Dust: Keep your surroundings dust free by cleaning with damp cloth and then drying the surfaces. Avoid using carpets, etc which can accumulate dust, mites, etc. Regularly vacuum such surfaces in absence of persons allergic to them to avoid triggering their ailment.
- Dust Mites: Most often dust mites and bugs live in stuffed toys, carpets, mattresses, cloths, pillows, beddings, etc. It is necessary to clean them in hot water where ever possible and encase them in zipped allergen covers. Use dehumidifier and keep household humidity low.
- Pet Dander: Avoid keeping pets. If you want to keep a pet it’s best to restrict them to specific areas and prevent them from entering bedroom, etc. It is also good to wash the pet regularly.
- Cockroaches: Take precautions and keep the house and environment clean to prevent breeding of cockroaches. Cockroach droppings and body parts can irritate asthma sufferers. Avoid use of chemicals and sprays for pest control.
- Chemicals: Avoid going into rooms that are being painted or just painted. Do not use strong perfumes and chemical inhalants.
- Food: Eat fresh unprocessed food. Check food labels for additives. Vitamin B complex and magnesium supplements may help.
- Regular checkups: See a doctor regularly, to be monitored and seek help in case if a severe attack.