According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, approximately, 300 million Indians suffer from Asthma. Common symptoms include recurrent attacks of wheezing and breathlessness usually after exposure to a ‘trigger’. The following are some of the common myths about asthma, and the corresponding facts are given below each.
Myth: People with asthma should avoid exercise
Considering the fact that exercise can be a trigger for some asthmatics, they can take preventive medication before an exercise session. Slow warm-up and cool-down periods with exercise also help to prevent an asthma attack. Regular exercise also prevents obesity which can further aggravate asthma.
Myth: Your asthma will go away as you grow up.
Although half the children between the age 2 and 10 seem to ‘outgrow’ the disease as they grow older, many continue to suffer during their adulthood. Habits such as smoking and drinking don’t help either. The best way forward is to manage the condition with medicines prescribed by an asthma specialist and follow a balanced and healthy diet with moderate exercise.
Myth: Emotional reasons can cause asthma.
The disease affects the airways of the lungs, it’s not psychological. Although stress and emotions can sometimes increase asthma symptoms, the primary reason for an asthmatic episode are allergens that enter the airways of an asthmatic and trigger an attack.
Myth: Asthma medications stop working over time.
Asthma drugs are potent medications that remain effective if used regularly and as directed. Usually, patients take a combination of quick-relief medications that provide immediate relief from symptoms and controller medication for long-term management of the condition. Patients should not stop their medication if they feel their symptoms have subsided. They should consult a specialist first and then only change their treatment plan.
Myth: Dietary supplements can help ease asthma symptoms.
At present, there is no proof that supplements ease asthma symptoms. However, a well-balanced diet low in fats and red meats, and higher in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is helpful for most patients. Claims that a miracle ‘herb’ or supplement can help asthmatics, should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Myth: Asthmatics should move to dry climates.
Moving is not a reliable option. You may be leaving one asthma trigger, but your new location will present new ones. Some allergens, like dust mites, are ubiquitous, so you’ll never get away from them no matter where you go. The good news is asthma can be controlled and prevented no matter where you live, so you don’t need to make a stressful move.
Myth: Use of air-conditioners worsens asthma.
air-conditioner can reduce humidity and cause dryness of indoor air; this may lead to your discomfort if you are asthmatic. Generally, AC filters in most homes are not cleaned regularly, It poor maintenance of the machine that leads to poor indoor air quality, which aggravates asthma. If your asthma is under medical control, a regularly cleaned and well-maintained AC by itself will not aggravate asthma.
Myth: No need to take asthma controller medicine daily.
In order to prevent asthma attacks, you should ideally take your asthma controller medicines especially when you are feeling well. By taking your medicine every day, your lungs will be strong and prepared when you’re exposed to your asthma triggers.
World Asthma Day is observed this month. Let’s create awareness about this disease and dispel myths that many ill-informed people believe as true.