What every Nigerian needs to know about Asthma

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Asthma is a disease of the lung that temporarily causes the inner walls of the breathing airways to be sensitive, inflamed and swollen making breathing difficult. It is a persistent, long-term and constantly recurring disease. Asthma temporarily narrows the air passage. This air passage allows for oxygen to be admitted into the body, so when there is narrowing of the air passage, lesser air is allowed to go through; hence there is chest tightness, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath all of which results in difficulty in breathing and sometimes in severe cases, inability to talk properly.

As popular as asthma is, very few Nigerians know the facts about asthma. For example, there are no specific causes of asthma as it were, we do know however that asthma is most times developed early in life and can be attributed to genetic and environmental factors. Often times, people with asthma may not experience an asthma attack unless it is triggered. Many situations can trigger an attack of  asthma, some of which are outlined below:

  • Irritants present in the air: like smoke for wood fires or coal, cigarette smoke, chemical fumes, dust, strong and intense scents and odours.
  • Allergens: Allergens may be indoor or outdoor such as pet dander, dust and mold, pollen from plants.
  • Sometimes exercise, although exercise can be used to alleviate asthma in some patients.

How to treat Asthma

One of the facts about asthma you should know is that it is incurable; however, it can be managed irrespective of the type of asthma. So firstly, ensure you live a healthy life and avoid anything that may trigger an attack. Work closely with your doctor, for therapeutic sessions, medications and other treatment. Ensure you always have your inhaler handy in the case of an attack.

ventolin-inhaler-about-asthma
Ventolin inhaler [source]
Asides these general rules for managing Asthma, there are a few home remedies, such as:

Onions: Onions are useful in the treatment of asthma as they are anti-inflammatory in nature; that is, they help clear the breathing airways.

Mustard oil: Massaging upper back and chest with mustard oil gently and repeatedly for relief from asthma symptoms.

Citrus fruits, and berries: Fruits like oranges, lemon, strawberries, and blueberries can be helpful to an asthma patient as they are rich in vitamin C and also acts as anti-oxidants.

Garlic: Boiled Garlic and milk can also be useful in clearing the airways.

Honey: Inhaling and swallowing drops of honey helps remove phlegm from the throat and allows for better rest.

As already stated above, Asthma is long-term and seemingly incurable; however, with proper management, people with asthma can live normal, healthy lives.

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