WINTER BRING ON ASTHMA
There are a number of reasons and factors, which make people suffering from asthma more susceptible to getting an attack during the winter months.
Firstly in our country we celebrate certain festivals with fire-crackers. This increases the level of pollution in the air. Also in winter the air pollution stays at a lower level in the atmosphere making it hard for asthmatics to breathe. The characteristic SMOG that we see during the winter months contains many particles, which trouble the respiratory system. This can trigger an attack in a susceptible individual.
In this weather the humidity in the air decreases to very low levels. This makes the air dry and devoid of moisture. In order to compensate for the dryness in the air the lining of the lungs produces more mucus than normal. This additional thick mucous can block the airways triggering an asthma attack.
During winter months in those places where the temperature plunges to nearly zero people tend to stay more indoors. This makes an asthmatic patient exposed to all the household allergens like dust mites, irritants like sprays, strong smells and perfumes, cockroaches, molds and several bacteria and viruses. This closed environment makes an asthmatic more prone to get infected with some respiratory tract infection which could trigger an attack.
Also winter months bring on the colds and Flu season. There are several viruses that cause these respiratory problems. Staying with someone or being in close contact with a person suffering from viral cold or flu makes you prone to getting it. This is especially true for children who are asthmatic.
Physical exertion during these winter months can also bring on an asthma attack. This is seen more at a higher altitude where the air is thin and temperatures are very low. Cold air, which is low in humidity, tends to increase the narrowing and drying effect exercise has on the airways.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF AN ASTHMA ATTACK?
Here are a few of the common signs and symptoms that a person suffering from asthma experiences.
1. Breathlessness is the main symptom. The patient experiences a difficulty in breathing and has to exert in order to breathe.
2. The child usually has a cough, which causes problems. This cough may be dry or with congestion in the chest and comes on very frequently.
3. A wheeze may be heard while breathing. This is because of the narrowing of the bronchial tubes.
4. Thick mucous may be present which makes respiration more difficult.
5. There might be other respiratory symptoms like cold and blocking of the nose, which makes the child breathe through the mouth.
6. Flaring of the nostrils, using the neck and other accessory muscles of respiration is not a good sign.
7. There might be a fever and the patient feels exhausted and fatigued.
8. The child may become cranky and his or her behavior might change.
9. The asthma patient normally experiences a tightness of the chest. They feel as if a load is there.
10. The appetite decreases as the breathlessness and heaviness of the chest is worse after eating.
PRECAUTIONS CAN BE TAKEN TO AVOID ASTHMA DURING WINTER
There are a few ways in which you can protect yourself against getting an attack of asthma.
1. Make sure your immunity is in good shape. This can be achieved if you lead a healthy lifestyle and diet. If you are allergic to something or if you are aware of what triggers your attack you should avoid consuming it.
2. Stay away from those who are already suffering from viral infections especially colds or flu. If you are in the same house make sure your things are separate from the infected person. Wash your hands before you touch your eyes, nose or eat anything.
3. Cover your body well if you have to go out in the cold. Children should be well clad when going out in this weather. Cover their mouths and noses with a scarf, this helps warm the air before it enters the air passages.
4. Increase the child's liquid intake. By this I mean his water intake and not aerated drinks, milk, tea, coffee etc… it is best to drink plenty of pure water throughout the day. This will help in loosening the mucous, which might be blocking the airways.
5. Do not use sprays, pesticides, strong smelling perfumes and odors in the house especially during these months. Try and make your home as dust and allergen free as possible.
6. Do not allow your child to over exert. Though exercise and playing sports is good it should be done in limit.
7. Keep your asthmatic child away from the fire-cracker pollution if possible. It is a good idea to take a holiday to some place where this will be minimum.
HOW IS AN ASTHMA ATTACK TREATED AND MANAGED?
There are a number of drugs and inhalers available for the treatment of an asthma attack. They help either by dilating the airways or by suppressing the immune reaction of the body to the allergen. Often steroids are used in the treatment of an attack and though they are very effective in the longer run they have their own set of side-effects. Please understand that these are only temporary measures, which should be given during an acute attack, but it is not the long term solution to this problem. However let me specify again that these drugs should be given in order to relieve the patient either in the form of a tablet, inhaler, syrup or nebulizer in case of acute attack. Nebulizer is one of the most effective and least harmful way of dispensing these drugs and should be especially for children.
The key to treating and managing asthma is to prevent it from occurring. For this your immune system has to be in order and under control. The trigger factors should be avoided both in the environment and in diet. This ideal situation is very hard to achieve in our daily lives in this city. Environmental changes and pollution is hard to avoid and people who are susceptible will get affected. This susceptibility is what we try to remove in our Homoeopathic system of medicine in order to treat asthma.
There are several factors, which make an individual susceptible to this problem. Genetically some people inherit this problem from their ancestors. It is also very closely connected to your mental and emotional state. If your immunity is disturbed and you become hypersensitive to external stimulants and environment then asthma sets in.
In our system of medicine we take into consideration various factors like the family history, constitution of the affected person, mental and emotional state, symptoms etc…
This is one of the most effective remedy used to treat asthma during winter time. The patient feels as if the air passages are dry. There is also a peculiar feeling as if a plug is present in the larynx which makes breathing difficult. The respiration is short, panting and suffocative.
Cough is another important symptom of this remedy. The cough can be barking, sawing, hollow and is worse in cold air. On examining there might be a wheezing sound heard in the chest. Though a lot of mucous is produced the Spongia patient finds it very hard to bring it up and instead tends to swallow it again.
The asthma is aggravated by lying down especially at night, worse in winter where there is dry cold air and after exerting. Spongia patient is always better by eating or drinking something warm.
Give Spongia Tosta 200, 5 pills 4 times a day to relieve the asthma and eradicate the cough.
I had a very interesting case of a 40 year old man suffering from asthma. He told me that since the last three four years he gets these attacks just when winter starts otherwise throughout the year he is symptom free. He had also observed carefully that the skin eruptions he suffered from would get better but the asthma would become worse.
He had a persistent dry hard cough and a feeling of weakness in the chest.
All these symptoms were aggravated in cold open air and by the change in weather. Peculiarly the only thing that gave some relief was by lying down with his arms apart. This is contrary to the normal where people suffering from asthma feel worse by lying down.
His wife also added that he was very careful about clothing and even in summer he would wear warm clothes.
I gave this gentleman Psorinum 200, 5 pills in constitutional doses which not only helped the asthma but also cured his skin problems.
This popular homoeopathic remedy is often used in cases of disorders of the digestive tract. However it is also effective in treating cases of asthma and other respiratory problems. The patient feels as if the air passages are constricted and has to forcibly try to remove the mucous. The breathing is shallow and oppressed.
There is a dry hacking cough with a feeling of tightness in the chest. The Nux Vomica patient says that during the asthma attack he feels as if his clothes are too tight and there is fullness of the stomach.
All these symptoms are worse early morning, in cold open air, from drafts of air, strong odours, noise, anger. This patient will get relief from wrapping up the head or by drinking hot drinks and in moist air.
Nux Vomica 200, 5 pills in repeated doses should be given in order to treat the winter asthma.
A mother brought her 10 year old daughter to me for asthma. She said that her child had been suffering from this problem since the time the weather had changed. The child described her symptoms by saying that she felt as if something was tickling in the throat and this would start the coughing. Her cough was a very dry teasing one and this did not allow her to sleep at night. This child would not allow me to touch her throat or examine her. The mother said the discharge was thin, watery, with a lot of froth and continuous.
Lately it had become so bad that even changing the room would cause a bout of coughing which would them lead to breathlessness.
This child only felt better when she covered her mouth and head and was worse at night, by uncovering.
I gave her Rumex 200, 5 pills 4 times a day with all the dietary restrictions which eventually cured her completely.
I would like to state that this article is written in order to make people aware that Homoeopathy has wonderful treatment for problems of asthma during winter. However self medication is not advised and you must visit a physician. Also as I have mentioned earlier for an acute attack other medication can and should be given in order relieve the patient along with the Homoeopathic medicine. In this manner the frequency and severity of the attacks will gradually reduce and the need for other medicines, inhalers, nebulizers will decrease.