Breathing is one of the most natural and automatic actions of the body. However, asthma can turn such a simple action into a strenuous effort and, if we are careless, it can put our lives at risk.
Why Is Asthma So Common in Puerto Rico?
Several studies have found that asthma has a strong allergic component and with its tropical and humid climate, our island promotes the development of fungi, mites, and insects. In addition, our geographical position puts us in the path of both Saharan dust and Soufriere volcanic ashes. These elements are some factors that contribute the most to the development of the condition.
Beyond the Wheezing
Asthma is a chronic illness that affects the respiratory airways and causes them to become swollen, resulting in wheezing, coughing, stiffness, and shortness of breath, especially early in the morning or at night.
This condition does not discriminate – we could all suffer from it. However, it can be more serious in children as their respiratory airways are smaller.
You know better than anyone the things that can trigger an attack or worsen your condition. So, the most important thing is to avoid or limit your exposure to any of them. These triggers may include:
- Environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, perfume, or other irritants
- Allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen, dust, and mold
- Infections. That is why it is recommended that you get a flu shot and avoid contact with people with colds.
Moreover, it is important that, if you have been prescribed control medications, you take them as prescribed and have rescue medications at hand.
Also, it is important that you analyze whether your condition is really under control. If you have asthma symptoms more than twice a week, or if you wake up at night with symptoms more than twice a month, your asthma is not under control. It is important that you consult with your physician to evaluate your condition management plan and to avoid a possible crisis.
When Should You Seek Help?
Do not underestimate your condition and be alert to seek help in case:
- Rescue medication does not give you relief.
- Your lips or nails turn gray or purple.
- You have difficulty walking or talking.
- You find it too hard to breathe.
- The skin on your neck, chest or ribs retracts with each breath.
- Your nostrils open when you breathe.
Take Good Care of Yourself With Our Help
Prevention is essential when managing a chronic condition such as asthma. At Triple-S, we offer you all the help you need through our condition management programs. With these programs, we help you learn more about your condition so that you can keep it under control, and we offer follow-up treatment as indicated by your doctor. If you are an asthma patient, you just need to be a Triple-S insured member and register through www.ssspr.com
Link for further information: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/taking-control-of-asthma/create-an-asthma-management-plan.html