How asthma patients can stay well in winter

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Asthma is such a condition that can never be treated completely. Sometimes, it stays under control while some other times especially in winter it gets worse. Asthma is a serious and chronic condition that is non-communicable.

Certain conditions such as furry animals (dogs, cats), smoking, incense and smoke, dust on bed sheets and pillows, dust floating in air from sweepings, musty smells, cold and dry winter air in winter, running, sports, heavy work, catching cold and causes related to one’s profession can aggravate asthma.

For people with asthma, this condition can be worsened from breathing in airborne pollen usually while gone to flower gardens. Shortness of breath may be triggered suddenly during exercise. Asthma patients should follow some tips to prevent such situations-

·         Based on age and fitness level you can do some light exercise (warm-up for 6 to 15 minutes) before starting heavy exercise. Avoiding cold, dry and polluted air, exercise in slightly moist, clean and warm air. Never breathe through your mouth while exercising. Cover your nose and face with a scarf or face mask while exercising in cold weather. Medicines of the Montelukast sort can be taken before exercise or going to a flower garden.

·         Since blankets and carpets gather dust more, it is better not to keep these in the room of an asthma patient. Their mattresses, pillows and quilts should be kept inside dust-proof covers with zippers. Bed sheets and blankets should be occasionally washed in hot water and dried in the sun. Pillow or mattress made of straw should not be used.

·         If it feels stuffy inside the room, stay away from there. Keep the doors and windows fully ajar while dusting something dusty.

·         When cooking on firewood, kerosene or gas, keep kitchen windows slightly open to avoid breathing in the fumes.

·         Keep windows closed to avoid dust, pollen and smoke emitted by cars or factories around the house.

·         Sweep the floor, paint walls, apply insecticides and cook spicy food only when the asthma patients are out of the house. If that is not possible, keep them in one room while working in the other. And the patients must cover their face with a mask or scarf during that time.

* Dr Md Delowar Hosssain, MD research, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical College, Shahbag, Dhaka

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