Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing) when you breathe out and shortness of breath.
Scriptures from China as far back as 2,600 B.C.E. and ancient Egypt mention symptoms of breathlessness and respiratory distress, asthma did not have its name or unique characteristics until Hippocrates described it over 2,000 years later in Greece.
Signs of an asthma attack
An asthma attack may be minor, but it can become dangerous very quickly.
During an attack, the airways narrow due to swelling and inflammation, and the muscles around them tighten.
The body also produces extra mucus, restricting the air passing through the bronchial tubes, which makes it very difficult to breathe properly.
Signs of an asthma attack include:
- coughing that won’t stop
- wheezing when breathing out
- shortness of breath
- very rapid breathing
- pale, sweaty face
Treating symptoms quickly may help prevent an asthma attack from getting worse.
Steps To Take During an asthma attack:
- do your best to keep calm
- take a puff of your rescue medication inhaler
- stand or sit up straight
Standing up can help increase airflow compared to sitting or lying down
A peak flow meter measures airflow from your lungs and can help determine if your symptoms are getting better.
If your breathing doesn’t improve within several minutes of using the rescue inhaler, or if you begin to feel drowsy, call for help and keep taking puffs on the inhaler until help arrives.
Home remedies for asthma
1. Caffeinated tea or coffee
The caffeine in black or green tea and coffee is believed to help treat asthma. It works similarly to the popular asthma medication theophylline, which opens up the airways.
caffeine may slightly improve breathing function in people with asthma for up to 4hours.
2. Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus oil comes from the oval-shaped leaves of the eucalyptus tree, which is native to Australia
And it has anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat asthma.
Research found that 1.8-cineole, the main element of eucalyptus oil, reduced airway inflammation in mice. It suggested that inhaling vapors from eucalyptus essential oil will also help people with asthma.
It’s important to note that research has found that essential oils, including eucalyptus, release potentially dangerous chemicals. but these substances may make asthma symptoms worse.
Remember to use caution when trying essential oils. Never use an essential oil if you’re having an asthma attack.
3. Lavender essential oil
Lavender oil is an essential oil derived from the lavender plant. It can be applied to the skin,taken orally and breathed in through aromatherapy.
Inhaling diffused lavender essential oil may reduce inflammation from allergies, helping with asthma.
As with other alternative treatments, lavender oil should not be used in an emergency.
4. Breathing exercises
Research shows that regular breathing training may improve asthma symptoms and mental well-being. It may also lower the need for rescue medications.
The exercises aim to reduce hyperventilation.
They can include:
- breathing through the nose
- slow breathing
- controlled holding of breath