I’m a big believer in taking whatever precautions are necessary to decrease your exposure to potential allergens. For indoor allergies, use HEPA filters to remove dander and dust out of the air. And follow my other advice for reducing your exposure to pet dander and other indoor allergies as well as to seasonal allergies.
My patients have had great success using allergy drops to reduce their symptoms to allergens and reducing the amount of medication they need. Along with these efforts, many patients will still need to use a combination of conventional treatments and holistic remedies.
Everyone with asthma needs an inhaler. These drugs open up your airways and are used for immediate relief when you’re beginning to feel asthma coming on. Inhalers include bronchodilators such as Ventolin, Proventil and Xopinex, which open up your airways within minutes. The other class of inhalers are inhaled corticosteroids and are known as anti-inflammatory, but I call them “mucus-busters,” because they clear the mucus build-up in the airway. They are safe when appropriately monitored because they work mostly in the lungs and are minimally absorbed in the rest of the body.
Using your inhaler
The most important thing to remember is make sure you use your inhaler properly. You should ask your doctor to demonstrate the proper technique with you. Some inhalers work differently than others. Some have to be “primed” if they haven’t been used in a while. If you are using your inhaler incorrectly, you may be getting less than five percent of the medicine—and this may make you overuse the medicine. In my book, Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution, we go through the proper steps for inhaler use.
In my book, I describe many holistic steps you can take to breathe better. Stress is a known trigger for asthma and constricted breathing, and one of my favorite strategies to reduce stress is breathing exercises. These are intended to relax your diaphragm (the large muscle that separates your lungs and heart from your abdominal organs). Try the pumping breathing or chest breathing and see if you improve how deep a breath you can take. I strongly advocate learning a yoga program. They are offered at every gym across the country and there are many excellent DVDs available. I enjoy the DVD by the writers of the YOU series, Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr.Mehmet Oz.
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