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Allergies and asthma go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s nature’s double-whammy.
You can’t breathe through your nose because of the sneezing and Nasal congestion, and when you are breathing exclusively through your mouth, the air isn’t warmed or filtered by your nasal passages before it enters your lungs, so it irritates them, making it even harder to draw a full breath.
The colder weather can make it even harder for asthmatics to breathe, so it’s especially important to keep allergies and respiratory problems under control in the winter. Here’s how you can defeat allergies and breathe easier.
Colds and flu tend to exacerbate asthma and allergy symptoms because your respiratory tract can’t handle the extra stress and inflammation. While there’s no cure for the common cold, there are ways to avoid getting as many colds.
First, be conscious of things like staying hydrated, washing your hands frequently, and keeping your fingers away from your eyes (one of the easiest places to introduce germs to the body).
Second, strengthen your immune response to the cold and flu viruses by taking zinc, ginseng and Vitamin C. You can buy immune-boosting preparations like Cold FX, take cod liver oil capsules, or ask your pharmacist, herbalist or naturopathic doctor for other herbal remedies.
Asthma is often triggered by common allergens like pet dander and saliva, mold, pollen, cigarette smoke and cockroaches. Eliminating these allergens should be top priority for asthmatics; using a vacuum with a HEPA filter will help remove some of these allergy-causing agents from your home.
Another helpful solution is to take 4-6g of evening primrose oil capsules each day because they are high in the anti-inflammatory fatty acid DHGLA (di-homo gamma linolenic acid), which builds up in the cell membranes that line the lungs.
Over a period of months, these anti-inflammatory agents dilate the bronchial passages, curb mucus production and reduce spasms in the bronchial airways, so more air can get through.
Body+Soul suggests that the Buteyko breathing technique, whereby a person takes smaller, gentler breaths, has been proven to help people with asthma take less medication.
Swimming is also recommended especially for children with asthma, perhaps because of the steady and controlled breathing techniques involved and/or the humid air inhaled while swimming.
Herbal remedies such as euphorbia, grindelia and licorice are also known to be helpful for asthma. Additionally, you can also place a steam vaporizer by your bedside with or without essential oils, like thyme or chamomile, to ease symptoms during the night.
The most important thing is to realize that the link between allergies and asthma is a significant one. Don’t just automatically reach for the Ventolin inhaler; you might have untreated allergies that are triggering your asthma or making it worse.
While there are plenty of ways to temporarily relieve the effects of allergies, the symptoms will typically return. At Houston Sinus & Allergy, we help patients to meet their allergies head on with more permanent solutions, such as Immunology.
Learn more about our Allergy treatments, including our allergy testing, and start breathing properly again!