JAM | Jun 22, 2023

Wellness Watch: Ways to keep your Asthma under control

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Asthma is one of the most common non-communicable diseases that affects many people in the Caribbean.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines asthma as a disease that affects the lungs and causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing.

Asthma can affect just about anyone despite their age and gender. Some of the most common risk factors associated with the condition include family history, environment, smoking or being exposed to second-hand smoke and obesity.

According to a 2013 local cross-sectional survey, the prevalence of asthma in Jamaican children is very high, with almost 1 in 5 (19 per cent) of children aged 2 to 17 years having current wheezing, and 1 in 6 (16.7 per cent) self-reporting doctor-diagnosed asthma.

We all know someone who has asthma and the pain and discomfort they experience when they have an asthmatic attack. With the right information, persons who suffer from asthma can keep their medical condition under control.

Keep your environment clean

Environmental factors such as dirt and dust are some common triggers for an asthmatic attack. Therefore it is important to keep your surroundings clean to prevent a future flareup.

Some chemicals, perfumes and detergents are also potential triggers. It is important for persons who are asthmatic to know their triggers in order to best minimize their exposure to those triggers.

Talk to your healthcare provider

One of the best ways to keep asthma under control is to speak to your healthcare provider about the symptoms that you experience to best treat the medical condition. A cure has not been discovered as yet for the medical condition, however with treatment the condition can be kept under control.

Medical practitioners generally recommend inhalers as the main treatment for the condition. If the condition is severe doctors may recommend pills or other medication.

Limit your exposure to second-hand smoking

Studies have shown that people who are exposed to second-hand smoke are more susceptible to asthma.

Smoking is known to cause a flareup in the symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. Parents and other individuals who smoke around children are encouraged to stop such behaviour as it can lead to severe health complications, especially for children with asthma.

Always have your inhaler at hand

The inhaler is a handheld device that allows asthmatic persons to breathe in medication through their mouth and directly to their lungs. For persons who are asthmatic, your inhaler should be your best friend and should be close to you at all times.

There are different types of inhalers but they all perform the same task; to deliver medicine to the lungs.

The World Health Organization (WHO), recommends that persons who suffer from asthma use a spacer, a device that connects the inhaler to the mouthpiece to help inhaled medicine reach the lungs more efficiently.

A young boy with asthma receives medicine through a spacer (stock photo)


Engaging in regular physical activity is also a great way to keep your asthma under control. Exercise helps to increase the blood flow throughout the body including the heart and lungs which work together to transfer oxygen through the body.

Schedule at least 15 minutes from your day to participate in physical activity whether it walking, jogging or doing yoga. This will yield great health benefits such as improved lung capacity and the transfer of oxygen to the body.

READ: Today is World Asthma Day!

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