According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation America, over 20 million Americans have asthma. That’s about 8 percent of the adult population and 7 percent of children. Some experts believe that the numbers will continue to increase if no intervention is in place.
This respiratory condition doesn’t have any known cure, and because it leads to the narrowing of the airways and breathing difficulties, it is not the disease you want to have in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic. Asthma and other infections like the flu are not a perfect combination because of the risks of pneumonia.
On the upside, because asthma is prevalent, costly, and even life-threatening, it is a popular subject for research. Over the years, scientists have come up with some recommendations to minimize the risks, including the following:
1. Building a Home from Scratch
These days, buying a home in a planned community is easy: pick among the options on the brochure, pick the lot, and get your mortgage — voila! Just wait for a few more months, and you can already move in.
But working with a custom home builder may be more beneficial if you or someone you love is dealing with asthma. There’s a whole lot of planning involved in the process. One of the primary considerations is your family’s goal: to lower the risk of respiratory conditions and keep everyone healthy.
The objectives of living there will eventually impact the design: what materials to use, where to place windows and doors, the elevation of the place, insulation and ventilation, and heating. All these factors can impact indoor air quality one way or the other.
Contrary to what most people think, a custom house doesn’t need to be more expensive than a made one. In fact, it may be cheaper in some situations, as homeowners will have greater control over their budget and contractors can work according to the maximum amount their clients can spend.
In the end, though, no one can — and should — place a price tag on one’s health. Therefore, a custom home may be worth the penny you pay if it saves you and your loved ones trips to the ER and medications.
2. Visiting or Living on a Farm
At first glance, being on a farm, let alone living there, seems counterproductive as far as having asthma is concerned. Wouldn’t all the dust, animals, and debris increase the risk of the condition? Not necessarily, according to a 2017 study by the University of Zurich.
Previous research already showed that early exposure to microbes might help decrease the odds of developing asthma and allergy later in life. Sometimes called desensitization, the basic premise is being exposed to these triggers can actually help train the immune system to recognize them and avoid overreacting. In other words, it makes your immunity work better.
But this European study also points out another benefit of farm life, and it’s a substance called sialic acid. According to researchers, this is the component responsible for a more regulated inflammatory response that also controls allergic reactions and asthma.
The problem is, the body doesn’t produce it because of a genetic mutation. The only way to acquire it is through vertebrates, which farms are abundant of. You may either eat the animals or, if you prefer to be vegan or vegetarian, keep them as pets. Either way, this can expose you to sialic acid that then stimulates an antibody reaction.
3. Getting Good-Quality Sleep
If you have been diagnosed with asthma and wonder why it keeps coming back, you might want to pay more attention to your snooze. It may be shorter (or longer), and the quality will be poorer.
In the 2020 research by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the team found a direct correlation between sleep and the risks of asthma attacks. About 45 percent of normal sleepers reported having at least a single asthma attack in 2019. However, the percentages were higher for both short and long sleepers at 59 and 51 percent, respectively.
Moreover, those who sleep for five hours or less also experienced more asthma attacks, overnight hospitalization, and dry cough. Meanwhile, long sleepers were prone to wheezing, which could also disturb their sleep.
According to researchers, sleep disturbance may be a red flag that the condition isn’t managed well. Previous studies also showed that poor-quality sleep could also negatively impact the immune system, sometimes causing it to go haywire.
When you or your loved one has asthma, you need a thorough and updated treatment plan. You can get that only from your healthcare provider. However, these tips can help you manage the condition more effectively.