Is It Possible to Prevent Asthma?

According to WHO (World Health Organization) it is very difficult (if not impossible) to prevent asthma. However, various measures can help reduce severity and frequency of asthma attacks. Measures that can help in asthma include, avoidance of tobacco smoke (quit smoking if you are a smoker and prevent second hand smoke or passive smoking, which can be as harmful as first hand smoke), avoidance of air pollution, reducing risk of lower respiratory tract infection etc. To avoid air pollution, you may have to change your residence from highly polluted city to a less polluted city or even relocate to a clean hill station. If you get frequent asthma attacks due to residing in highly polluted city, you may think of relocating to a less polluted area. There are numerous reports of significant benefits after changing to a less polluted area.

Various other measures can help in preventing asthma, these include, reducing exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy.

There are also various other claimed (but unconfirmed with proper large scientific studies) such as, exposure to pets in early life, various dietary restrictions (not supported with adequate studies).

Many other factors may also play important role in preventing asthma (asthma attack frequency and severity). These include,

  • In most asthma patients the attacks are usually triggered by a trigger. Try to identity and (if identified) avoid the trigger. Various allergens may act as trigger, such as pollen, house dust, mold in cold air, and air pollution to name a few. There are many other different triggers for asthma. Try to identify it and avoid it.
  • Identify and treat it as soon as it starts. If you can act early when asthma attack starts, it is possible to reduce severity of the attack to a great extent. Always keep your asthma medications with you. Carry your medications along with you, wherever you go (in office, while shopping or when you go outdoor). If you carry your asthma medicines with you, starting treatment as soon as it appears is possible and it is possible to prevent attacks in such situations.
  • Use quick-relief inhalers such as, ventolin treatment (albuterol inhalers) can be of great benefit. These quick-relief inhalers are highly effective in providing prompt relief from acute asthma attacks. Most asthma patients use these quick-relief inhalers for their high effectiveness.
  • Follow your treatment plan for asthma. Always strictly follow your doctor’s advice regarding managing your asthma. You need regular monitoring and follow up for your asthma problem. By following your treatment plan strictly, it is possible to reduce frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
  • Learn to recognize various signs and symptoms of asthma such as wheeze, breathlessness (shortness of breath), coughing etc. However, these signs of asthma develops only after your lung function decreases to a certain extent. Hence, it is helpful to use a home peak airflow meter to monitor your breathing at home.
  • Get yourself vaccinated against common respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia. Because, infections, especially respiratory infections can trigger asthma and during infection treatment of asthma may be difficult.

The above mentioned preventive measures for asthma may not be able to completely prevent the disease. However, they are very helpful in reducing frequency and severity of asthma attacks.

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