It can be triggered by allergens (things people can get allergic to), irritants (things that irritate the airways), and certain other situations (which cause asthma through quite complicated means). Commonest are:
1) Exposure to some of the outdoor factors like pollens from plants, trees and grasses, including freshly cut grass and mould etc.
2) Exposure to some of the indoor factors like animal dander from pets with fur or feathers, dust and dust mites specially in carpeting and pillows etc.
3) Exercise: like running or playing hard, especially in cold weather.
4) Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI): It commonly includes tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, otitis media, and the common cold or flu.
5) Emotional upset: the commonest are anger, sadness or fear.
6) Irritants: like strong smells and chemical sprays; perfumes, paint and cleaning solutions, cold air. Lawn and turf treatments, Chalk dust, weather changes, cigarette and other tobacco smoke.
In Unani system of medicine treatment of the diseases of known etiology is based on administration of drugs having actions contrary to etiological changes i.e. known as Ilaj-Bil- Zid. According to this principal of treatment, Unani scholars have designed various formulations comprising of drugs with hot and dry temperament for asthma which temperament is cold and moist.
Avoid exposure to the precipitating factors. Find out what triggers your asthma, and get rid of things that bother you at home and work. Exposure to cold should be avoided.
- Drink plenty of water, 8 to 10 glasses a day, to keep secretions loose.
- Keep your bedroom allergen-free. Sleep with a foam or cotton pillow, don’t use feather pillow.
- Wear a dust filter mask when you go out in dust and allergen contact. Allergens and other substances liable to provoke attacks of asthma are to be avoided.
- Wear a scarf around your mouth and nose in cold weather. Doing so will warm the air as you breathe in and will prevent cold air from reaching sensitive airways.
- Sit up straight or bend forward, during an asthma attack. Do not lie down.
- The patient may require hospitalization if he complaints of uncontrolled bouts of coughing or wheezing, chest tightness or pressure and intense breathing difficulty.
- During an acute attack, a hot chest and shoulder pack must be given repeatedly every half an hour. It gives the quickest and most satisfactory relief. It will have a sedative effect upon the nerves and a relaxing influence generally.
- Hot milk or hot water when sipped little by little, provides immediate relief from the attack.
- Try steam inhalation, for an acute asthma attack, Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel.
- Avoid milk products like curd, buttermilk and fruits like bananas, guavas and fried foods.