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Monday, 12 August 2013

Natural Remedies for Asthma

Getting sick right before you move house sucks.

We have a lot of building works going on at the moment to compound to the mayhem going on around here, and thanks to a nasty bout of the flu I can barely leave my sofa to walk to the bathroom without needing a rest or having an asthma attack. Thank goodness we've booked a removal team!

I try not to take medications that I deem 'unnecessary' but for the first time in a few years I've had to resort to salbutamol. I don't love the shaky, light headed feeling, but I have to say its a big relief to be able to take a deep breath again. 

If for some reason you don't have your inhalers with you (or you consider your symptoms mild enough that you don't need them yet) here are some alternatives you could try before reaching for the steroids (please bear in mind that I do not advocate avoiding medications that you need - only that if you catch the symptoms early you sometimes don't need to resort to them. Always consult your doctor before changing your treatment plan). 

Steam room: steam inhalation can really help to open your airways, if you don't have a steam room in your home, and you are dripping with too much snot to lean over a bowl of hot water, my favourite method is to get in a hot steamy shower enclosure. You can supercharge your steaming with some essential oils too...

Essential Oils: eucalyptus is what most people go for, if that works for you, enjoy! My personal favourite though is peppermint oil. Not only does it help open up the airways, but it's calming and relaxing too, which is helpful if you are starting to feel panicky about not being able to breathe easily. It also smells less like Vicks vapour rub, which always reminds me of being sick, so I prefer it for that reason too. 

Coffee: drink about a 1/3 of a cup of strong coffee. Decaf will not work. I hate coffee in general, but I have found this to be fairly helpful this weekend. Wait ten minutes and drink another 1/3 if necessary. 

Deep breaths through your nose: if you aren't full of snot, try taking slow deep breaths through your nose. Breathing through the mouth can exacerbate asthma. 

Eat something spicy: the heat in chilli peppers comes from a chemical called capsaicin which acts as an anti inflammatory, whilst the spiciness encourages moisture in the mouth, throat and even lungs, thinning out mucus and making it easier to cough up - yuk!

Vitamin C: eat red/orange fruits and veg, like strawberries, carrots, peppers...etc... Asthma sufferers generally have low vitamin C levels and experts reckon that the equivalent of three glasses of orange juice a day in vitamin C can cut wheezing by 30%. I personally wouldn't recommend three glasses of orange juice daily (just because of the sugar content), but you could juice your own and eating fruit and veg in its raw whole state, with a focus on getting enough vitamin C may help.

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