What Triggers an Asthma Attack?
It can be triggered by airborne allergens, food reactions or even burning the candle at both ends and not getting proper rest. A run down body is more susceptible to illness than a healthy rested one. It usually presents itself with shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing. My son would have a harsh never-ending cough. No matter how much cough medicine or tea I would give him, it would not resolve the cough. Anyone with a child that suffers from asthma recognizes the cough.
Relief would begin when the cough would finally break up accompanied by a more rattely mucousy sounding cough. As unattractive as it would sound, I knew that it was the beginning of his getting better.
Usual Asthma Treatments
There are a variety of treatments for asthma depending on the severity. I’m most familiar with nebulizing albuterol and Pulmicort. There are also the portable inhalers for a quick treatment when the nebulizer isn’t available. We could never leave the house for a soccer game without the cleats, plenty of water and the inhaler.
Alternative or Supplementary Asthma Treatments
While some foods can trigger an asthma attack, others can help to stave of an attack. I don’t recommend throwing away the inhaler and nebulizer, but I do recommend modifying the diet to help reduce the need for the prescribed medicines. Is there documented proof that this stuff works? There are small studies that give credence to some of the dietary changes, but I believe the medical community wants more proof before they make recommendations. I’m not part of the medical community, I’m only sharing my beliefs and some of my experience, so don’t consider me an authority on the subject.
The Asthma Thought Process
I usually look at afflictions and illnesses and diseases by how they work. If an asthma attack is caused by the inflammation of airways in the lungs, it makes sense to try to find foods and natural ingredients that help to reduce or prevent inflammation (prevention is always better – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure).
Anti Inflammatory Spices
Not recommended for the little ones, but spicy foods help to dilate the passages in the lungs thus helping to improve breathing. If you’re in the mood to nibble on chili peppers, sprinkle cayenne on your food or eat hot mustard (to name a few airway opening foods), you might find that you can breathe a little easier.
Inflammation Reducing Fish Oils
A little easier on the palate and probably a better alternative for the little ones, fish oils have an anti-inflammatory property because they’re high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Some small studies suggest that Omega 3 is helpful in preventing the inflammation associated with asthma, and Omega 6, on the other hand, does just the opposite and can contribute to exacerbating asthma symptoms. Before you go out and start eating tons of fish, do your homework. You don’t want to trade asthma symptoms for mercury poisoning.
Here’s an article that explains omega 3 and omega 6 balancing: Essential Fatty Acids: Omega 6 & Omega 3.
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and Inflammation
From my experience with ACV, it does wonders with mucus and the sniffles, and also helps with snoring. Does it work on preventing asthma inflammation? There are folks who swear by it, but honestly speaking, I don’t know for sure because I don’t suffer from asthma and I stumbled upon ACV well after my son’s asthma symptoms had all but disappeared.
My Asthma Story
When my son was diagnosed with asthma, in addition to the doctor prescribed albuterol and nebulizer, I changed his diet. I removed as many processed foods as possible and made most foods from scratch. The whole milk was substituted for soy milk and all dairy products were low or no fat.
Over time, there was a reduction in the frequency of asthma attacks. Was it the change in diet? Who knows for sure, but as a mom, I tried to be proactive because watching an otherwise healthy 2-year-old suffer an asthma attack was just as painful as watching him squirm and complain while being forced to sit at the nebulizer.
He’s just about all grown up now and in the last 8 years, he has had one incident that required a nebulizer about a year ago. I think that’s pretty good considering that he initially would have to nebulize daily at regular intervals.
Lesson I Learned
Finding optimal health is a matter of making the best out of the deck of cards dealt to you. Sometimes it’s a combination of traditional medicine supplemented with common sense and good nutrition. Asthma isn’t anything to play around with. Before you throw away your traditional asthma relief methods, in favor of a natural approach, do extensive homework and keep your doctor in the loop.
A few shots from an inhaler and some nebulization may help with the symptoms, but it doesn’t change the underlying causes. That’s where nutrition and healthy choices come into play.