Living with a child who has asthma from day to day can be a real source of stress for parents — particularly during the flare-up. As a matter of fact, asthma attacks are the number one reason, nationwide, for pediatric visits to the emergency room — which is stressful for kids and parents both. There are, however, some ways to naturally prevent asthma attacks by lifestyle changes you can make right in your own home.
Keep it Clean
Unfortunately, if you have an asthmatic child, there will be a lot more cleaning to do from day to day! Washing bedding (sheets and blankets both) every week and keeping hypoallergenic covers on mattresses and pillows are just a few of the extra things you will need to do. Also, vacuuming and dusting the house frequently and opting for hardwood floors, tile or linoleum instead of carpeting will help you to keep things like dust and dander down to a low level.
Take Care of Your Air
It is a bit of an investment, but if your child is asthmatic, be sure to buy a HEPA filter for your home — and clean it monthly to make sure it is performing as it should. Try to buy the best you can afford, as it really will help to filter particulate matter from the air that can bring on an asthma attack. Another way to take care of your air is to use a humidifier in the home: dry air can bring on coughing, which can in turn increase inflammation and bring on a flare-up.
Know Your Triggers —
Knowing triggers may sound simple — but it isn’t, as they can be different for every child. One of the best ways to find out what these triggers are is to get allergy testing to find out what things your child is sensitive to. Another way is to keep a journal of your child’s asthma attacks and try to find the patterns: were they playing with their pet, running around the house or eating a certain food when the flare-up began? This journal might give you an idea of what your child’s triggers might be.
— And Avoid Them
Avoiding triggers can also be difficult, though it can be done. Keeping the home free of dust and mold, keeping pets outside or at least out of bedrooms and living areas, and staying inside on days that are smoggy or have a high pollen or mold count are all good examples of this. Also, children with asthma should not be around smokers or secondhand smoke, smoke from household candles or people wearing strong perfumes, colognes or similar products.
Consider the Diet
Diet can play an important role in asthma management. For one thing, avoiding certain foods — such as those with sugar, preservatives or gluten — during a flare-up can help keep symptoms from getting worse. Also, some families follow an anti-inflammatory diet to help reduce the inflammation that brings about asthma attacks. Talk to your doctor about guidelines for this diet and whether or not it would be appropriate for your family.
Be Active – but Be Careful
Most parents are understandably worried about too much activity in their child, especially if he or she has been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. However, a reasonable activity can actually help the respiratory system (and the other body systems) work better and in the long run can help reduce asthma attacks. Having a period of warm-up and cool-down, not overdoing it and exercising indoors are all good ways to stay active while still being mindful.
For parents who are stressed about their child’s condition, the good news is that with certain precautions like the ones mentioned above, a child with asthma can lead a pretty normal life and help keep exacerbations few and far between – which puts less stress on parents and children both!