Archive for the “Asthma” Category

Posted on 01 Sep 2014
Asthma

7 Health Tips for Keeping Asthma Under Control

Living with asthma may not be the easiest thing for anyone to live with, regardless of their age. However, by educating yourself on the illness, you can get a better understanding of how it affects your body and how to control it.

The following are 7 health sildenafil citrate Australia tips to help you keep your asthma under control:

1. Learn to Recognize the Symptoms
For many people, asthma attacks seem to sneak up on them and before they know it, they are in a situation that seems out of control. By carefully monitoring your symptoms, you will have a better idea of when an attack is going to happen.

2. Educate Yourself on Your Medications
A lot of people who are treated for asthma simply follow their doctor’s instructions for taking their medications. The fact is that you might be on several medications and each one is going to get a different result. For example, you may have one medicine that is used for prevention, while another, like a steroid, is to be used for a more serious episode.

3. Keep a Journal on Your Symptoms
Every person diagnosed with asthma should keep a journal on the symptoms, as it can lead to great discoveries on what is actually causing the attacks. Each entry should include what symptoms you are feeling, as well as any reading from your peak flow meter.

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4. Learn What is Triggering an Attack
For a lot of asthmatics, understanding what triggers an attack is how they are able to keep such great control over this illness. Simple weather changes could affect your breathing ability and understanding this could help you to know when the right times to take your medications are and which ones to take.

5. Plan a Diet that Includes Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
As many fruits and vegetables are considered to be antioxidants, it is important to add them into the diet. Vitamins C and E are well known for their anti-inflammatory effects and can actually help to reduce irritation or swelling in the lungs.

6. Keep Your Weight Down
Being overweight can easily cause more asthma attacks in the individual. By keeping your weight down, you can reduce the number of symptoms that you experience. Even just losing a few pounds will make a difference.

7. Schedule Consults With Your Doctor
The biggest and most important tool you have to help fight your asthma is your doctor. Their experience and education will play a vital role in how well you are able to reduce your symptoms. Regular visits with your doctor can help determine what triggers an attack and they can advise you on how to get it under better control.

Posted on 10 Oct 2012
Asthma

The Best Breathing Exercises For Asthmatics

The Buteyko breathing technique was created by the Russian respiratory physiologist Professor Konstantin Buteyko to treat those suffering from asthma and other respiratory disease’s. The principle behind this breathing methodology is that most people suffering from respiratory illness over-breath and inhale to much air this will lower the amount of carbon dioxide inside of the human body.

Why is carbon dioxide important?

If your Co2 level is not at the required level then oxygen is just going to be carried around the bloodstream and is not made available to tissues and organs in the human body. These minimal quantities induce an increase in breathing and an even further decrease of Co2, a classic vicious circle.

Secondly carbon dioxide dilates the smooth muscle around the airways, arteries and capillaries, decreased amounts of Co2 induce these muscles to tighten. If these arterial blood vessels narrow this has the potential to trigger greater heart rate, higher blood pressure and a increased breathing level.

It in addition helps to sustain the body’s PH balance which is very important in retaining a healthy immune system.

Carbon dioxide aids in the body’s production of cortisol, the body’s natural steroid which is needed to control inflammation.

Co2 is used in the body to reduce the production of mucus resulting in less restricted airways.

The Buteyko methodology is an exercise regime for a person’s breathing, it is designed to lessen the quantity of air inhaled to assist you to retrain your own body in order to receive an increased level of carbon dioxide. The sequence is composed of a check of your pulse ahead of and following the actual exercise process, a check of what is known as the control pause and the actual breathing exercises

The control pause is actually a measurement of carbon dioxide in the alveoli dependent on a comfortable breath hold, but its not recorded right after taking a large breath of air, its taken when the air is expelled via the lungs during an ordinary breath. The lower the time you can wait after breathing out the lower the level of Co2 in the body. The desired percentage of co2 is 5.5 which in turn represents a control pause of approximately 40 seconds, a control pause of 10 seconds shows a co2 level of 4.0 percent. According to Buteyko teachers, with regular Buteyko reduced-breathing exercises, asthmatics are predicted to find that their CP over time will increase and in parallel suffer lessened asthma symptoms.

The intention of the Buteyko breathing method is to increase the levels of carbon dioxide to at least five-and-a-half per cent giving a control pause of forty seconds.

With the continuous practice of the Buteyko breathing exercises the respiratory centre should end up being able to accept a larger concentration of carbon dioxide. Remember, it is the level of carbon dioxide that decides the need to inhale.

Posted on 08 Sep 2012
Asthma

Asthma and Exercise – The Health Benefits

An asthmatic person has difficulty in breathing. He may feel choked or suffocated during an attack. Consequently, he may be unable to perform regular activities and his work may suffer along with his health. Hence, the primary motive of treatment is to make such a person feel comfortable and to help them to lead a normal life.

Asthma and exercise are, therefore, a very progressive combination. Along with medical aid, physical fitness helps in building stamina and strength. The body is made stronger and fitness is improved.

The general perception is that an individual who has such an inflammatory disease must not indulge in exercising, as it may worsen their condition. However, this is not true.With proper guidance, the health benefits are endless. Moreover, a sedentary lifestyle is not advisable for any individual. Especially in the case of asthmatic people, the condition becomes more severe with weight gain. Hence, a proper BMI is important.

A person can control and balance asthma and exercise, by being aware and keeping few aspects in mind. First and foremost, the patient should consult his physician and try to comprehend his symptoms. One needs to understand the limits to which one can exert the body, in accordance with the disease.

To begin with, one can start exercising at home. Staying indoors helps in controlling the environment and other factors. The inhaler should always be accessible. Even while exercising outdoors or traveling, the medication and respiratory aid must be handy to minimize the adverse effects in case of an attack. A simple initiative that is advocated by all healthcare experts is, to start short distance walking or jogging. The body will slowly become fitter and body weight can be controlled. The regular stretches are helpful for the joints. They keep the body flexible. Future complications like arthritis can be prevented.

Dedicating about 30 minutes of a day, about 5 times a week, can work wonders when one wishes to cope with symptoms of asthma. Other activities like Yoga, swimming, and biking can help build stamina.

People who suffer from respiratory ailments are more susceptible to ill health and other problems as their body does not receive the correct amount of oxygen for bodily functions. Moreover, the excess strain on the lungs makes the person weak. By maintaining an asthma and exercise balance, one can not only live a better life, but also more disease-free life. With little effort and motivation, any individual can overcome the difficulties of his condition.

Posted on 29 Aug 2012
Asthma

All About Asthma – Introduction and Info on Asthma

Introduction

Asthma affects more than 5 million people in the United Kingdom and for the majority it is a disease that can be well managed with readily available current therapies. Sadly, in the region of 1,500 patients continue to die from their asthma every year. As well as those patients that suffer a fatal asthma attack (FA), there is a cohort of patients that have suffered from a near fatal asthma attack and are subsequently at higher risk of morbidity and mortality. near fatal asthma attack is defined by the British Thoracic Society (BTS) as an asthma attack associated with a raised PaCO2 and/or requiring mechanical ventilation with raised inflation pressures.Patients with fatal asthma have been hypothesised as representing two distinct subgroups according to the onset of symptoms prior to death. One of the scientist examined the autopsy findings of 37 subjects aged 2 to 34 years dying from asthma and classified them as slow onset (Type 1) (n=21) or rapid onset (Type 2) (n=16). Subjects did not differ by age, race, sex, obesity or use of corticosteroids. Type 1 mortalities were hospitalised more and made more emergency room visits in the year prior to death than type 2 mortalities. Slow onset patients had a predominance of eosinophils and basement membrane thickening along with higher health care utilisation.

Incidence and prevalence of fatal and near fatal asthma

Specific data on FA and near fatal asthma attack in the UK are hampered by the lack of a fatal asthma registry. Two studies have attempted to circumvent this problem in different fashions. Harrison et attempted to analyse all asthma deaths in the Eastern region between 2001 and 2003 by means of a confidential enquiry and compared it with previous Norwich and East Anglian data. Between 1998 and 2003 there was a downward trend in the asthma mortality rate. Misclassification on the death certificate was common. Only 57 of 95 notified deaths (60%) were confirmed as asthma deaths. 311 asthma deaths were studied between 1998 and 2003. In 2001-3 the male: female ratio was 3:2. 53% of patients had severe asthma and 21% moderately severe disease. In 19 cases (33%) at least one significant co-morbid disease was present. Monthly death rates peaked in August, with a smaller peak in April, suggesting a seasonal allergic cause. In 11 cases (20%), mostly males aged under 20, the final attack was sudden and 10/11 occurred between April and August. Therefore in 80% of deaths the final attack was not sudden, and may have been preventable. In 81% of cases there was significant behavioural and/or psychosocial factors such as poor compliance (61%), smoking (46%), denial (37%), depression (20%) and alcohol abuse (20%). The overall medical care was appropriate in only 33% of cases, leading the authors to conclude that ‘at-risk’ registers in primary care may improve recognition and management of ‘at-risk’ patients. Watson et analysed data from the CHKS database, which provides data on 70% of inpatient coverage in the UK. Between 2000-2005 the mortality rate was 1063 patients from 250,043 asthma admissions. December and January had the peak number of deaths post asthma admission, which were nearly all in adults. Women and those over 45 years had the highest rate of death. These 2 studies demonstrate that in the UK there is a peak in asthma deaths in young people (aged up to 44 years) in July and August and in December and January in older people.

Risk factors associated with fatal and near fatal asthma

A systematic review of the risk factors associated with near fatal asthma attack and FA has been performed by Alvarez et. Increased use of beta-agonists, oral steroids, theophylline and a history of hospital and/or ICU admissions and mechanical ventilation due to asthma were predictors of near fatal asthma attack and FA. The use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) demonstrated a trend toward a protective effect against FA. Poor compliance with prescribed medication is a key issue; approximately 60% of patients that die from asthma demonstrate evidence of poor compliance to medication, in particular to ICS. Severe asthma and FA may also be associated with fungal sensitization. Many airborne fungi are involved including species of Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium, and exposure may be indoors, outdoors or both. Prevention of fatal and near fatal asthma What can be done to prevent FA and near fatal asthma attack attacks? The majority of severe asthma attacks develop relatively slowly with more than 80% developing over greater than 48 hours. There are many similarities between patients with FA, near fatal asthma attack and control patients with asthma that are admitted to hospital, indicating that better management of high risk patients including early intervention has the capacity to prevent asthma deaths. Improving patient compliance is of key importance in preventing FA and near fatal asthma attack, but this is never easy in clinical practice. Effective measures to improve compliance include patient-directed consultations and addressing patients’ fears of ICS side effects. It is critical that patients do not use long acting bronchodilators (LABA) in the absence of ICS; pragmatically this is best achieved, in those patients who need both drugs, by prescribing combination ICS/LABA inhalers, thus guaranteeing ICS delivery to the patient.

Posted on 09 Aug 2012
Asthma

Knowing the Difference of Asthma and Bronchitis

Bronchitis has some similar symptoms with other lung problems such as asthma. If you don’t recognize it accurately you might end up giving the wrong home treatment to your child or even yourself.

When you are out if breath, have a hard time breathing or coughing a lot the first thing you would do is to try out whatever home remedies that you know. The question is, is it the right remedy?

You might think you are experiencing asthma so you may just depend on your inhaler. What you don’t know is that you might already be suffering from acute bronchitis and need some cough syrup or other medicine for the relief of your symptoms.

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the air passages that leads to your lungs from your throat. It can either be acute or chronic. These passages are called bronchi or bronchioles.

When these structures are inflamed there is heavy formation of phlegm on the bronchial tubes and air passage is restricted. This means the lungs give out and receive lass air than it should.

Acute bronchitis normally results from a flu or viral infections and is short term. Initial stage is seen as having flu like symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose with only mild fever. Cough is observed after a couple of days.

Asthma however do not present with flu like symptoms at the onset of the illness. Both are observed with wheezing sounds except that it is much worse in an asthma attack. Spasm in the air passages are also noted more in people with asthma.

With bronchitis the chief complaint is regularly wet coughing. Asthma on the other hand is seen with dry cough and not as severe as that of bronchitis. It chief complaint would be wheezing and difficulty breathing.

With an acute bronchitis, symptoms seen for a short period, 10 days or so. Asthma is longer and it is recurrent. Bronchitis do respond to antibiotics unless it is viral while an inhaler is all it takes for an asthma attack.

Bronchitis can be caused by a bacterial or a viral infection. Chronic bronchitis though is brought about by smoking, environmental factors. If it is chronic it is unlikely to be contagious. The acute ones can spread though.

Knowing which illness you have is important. The two may be similar in some form but may require different treatment. Both exhibit inflammation of the airways so diagnosing it accurately is hard.

When not sure the best thing to do is go to your physician. Make sure you are giving the correct symptoms and do not confuse things for an accurate diagnosis.

While bronchitis has two forms, acute and chronic, both are characterized by severe coughing. Asthma on the other hand is by difficulty in breathing and excessive wheezing sound during breathing.

Knowing all these differences can help you give initial treatment to yourself or to your child.

Posted on 02 Aug 2012
Asthma

The Facts About Asthma

It seems that these days more and more kids are discovering that they have asthma. For some it is allergy related and for others it may be environmental or hereditary. While in our current society we seem to act as if difficulty breathing is normal, the truth is that it isn’t. Everyone should be able to breathe and if they can’t there are probably some significant reasons for this difficulty.

Many doctors believe that it is because many children are not given the opportunity to develop fully, and that maybe the timetable that Obstetricians are using to figure out when babies should be born may be off either because the amount of time that it takes a fetus to develop is increasing or because there are so many babies being taken out before they are truly full term. Of course, being that the lungs are one of the final organs to develop this could be a major contributing factor to the increase in asthma in children.

Many factors exist that can add to breathing issues in the young and we ought to be careful not to fail to notice troubles with the atmosphere, problems with cigarette smoke and other pollutants in the atmosphere, in addition to all the other irritants we are exposed to daily. There are even persons who think that the augment in instances of asthma may be due to partially the prenatal examinations performed habitually on the fetus.

A food allergy can also cause asthma flare-ups. Additionally allergens in the air can stop a person from inhalation and leave them out of breath. This can be an extremely scary experience for both kids as well as adults. When a person cannot inhale or exhale it only takes a small number of minutes prior to their color change and they faint which is the reason it is so significant to recognize an asthma attack in the early hours and to bring life-saving medication around with you as backup.

Asthma is considered a very common condition these days and while there are instances of individuals dying from asthma for the most part by using cortico-steroids and a rescue inhaler most people can live a relatively normal life. This does not mean that we should consider not having the ability to breathe freely as a normal facet of life. Everyone should be able to breathe freely and if there are things you can do to avoid those issues that cause asthma flare-ups then that is definitely a better way to manage your asthma.

Posted on 23 Aug 2011
Asthma

Hard to Breathe?

Have you ever thought that breathing difficulties may be caused by the invisible germs that inhabit all our homes? In our busy everyday lives I don’t suppose that we are even aware of the invisible germ warfare going on all around us in our homes. And the bugs and bacteria are exactly where you don’t expect them to be.

I am sure that if you are an asthma sufferer or are finding it hard to breathe at various times, you will be aware of the need to keep your home scrupulously clean. We all know about dust mites in the bedroom for example, but while we all rigorously clean our baths and toilets, I doubt whether many of us pay much heed to those unsuspected areas in our homes which are breeding grounds for bacteria and may be causing breathing problems to us all, particularly those with chest or lung complaints.

Hard to breathe – hidden causes

So where are the areas we should be cleaning? You may be surprised at the list below.

Bath Plughole – the average bath plughole is surrounded by microbes. There are about 8 times more bacteria there, in a soapy slime, than will be found in a typical kitchen sink.

Computer Keyboards – Research has found that the average keyboard is alive with bacteria, more in fact than on a typical toilet seat. In a survey of 33 keyboards 4 carried staphylococcus and E.coli germs and 1 was so filthy it was quarantined. Keyboards are great dust attracters and that fact, combined with people eating at their desks and dropping crumbs or failing to wash their hands makes keyboards a major contributor to breathing problems.

Carpets and Rugs – Carpets provide the perfect home for a whole range of bacteria which vacuum cleaners struggle to pick up. Allergy creating dust mites and their feces, together with human skin cells, can trigger breathing problems.

Vacuum Cleaners-In a University of Arizona study of vacuum cleaner brushes, 50% contained fecal bacteria, and 13% the E.coli bug. Brushes and attachments should be disinfected after each use.

Airing Cupboards – Their warm environment provide the ideal breeding conditions for germs. Make sure that wherever possible you leave laundry to dry outside in the fresh air. Sunlight kills most microbes. Our mother’s had it right with their washing lines in the back yard.

Toothbrushes – A study by University of Manchester discovered that the average toothbrush contained 10 million germs including staphylococci and streptococcus. Change your toothbrush every 3 months.

Dishcloths and kitchen sponges – An average dishcloth contains about 130,000 bacteria per square inch according to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control. Most experts believe that contamination from cloths, wipes and sponges is the main cause of food poisoning in the home.

Work Surfaces – The average work surface is the biggest surprise, being actually dirtier than the average toilet seat or rubbish bin.

Chopping Boards – The recent trend from wooden to plastic chopping boards has been a mistake. The idea was that plastic could be cleaned at higher temperatures and were thus safer. Wrong! Recent studies have shown plastic boards harbor more bacteria than wooden ones because they infiltrate the fibers of wooden boards, where, starved of nutrients, they die. Go get yourself a wooden board!

The surprising fact is that toilet seats, toilet bowls, and animal food bowls are extremely clean. Due no doubt to the bleaches and disinfectants which are used to clean them.

Posted on 08 Jul 2011
Asthma

How To Cure Infant Asthma

Are you looking for a way to cure infant asthma? Does your baby show the worrying signs and symptoms of asthma such as grunting and wheezing at night? Asthma can only officially be diagnosed at the age of 2 years however, this does not mean it does not exist in the young baby. If you have a family history of hay fever, food intolerance, asthma or eczema that your baby may be predisposed to developing asthma.

Infant asthma does not have the same causative factors as childhood or adult asthma. Most of the time, allergies do not play a huge role in infant asthma. In babies, the developing immune system and respiratory system can cause them to be more susceptible to respiratory infections such as bronchitis. The symptoms however are similar as those of an asthmatic child.

So are there any ways to cure infant asthma without resorting to steroids and drugs? Here is a list of some tips that can help your child’s asthma.

-Vitamin C has been shown to be deficient in many children suffering from asthma. If your child is old enough, a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended.

-Lactose intolerance. Check that your baby is not lactose intolerant. This can cause excessive mucus production and can lead to blockage of the sinuses and congestion of the respiratory airways. If your baby is on formula it may be helpful to try switching formulas. Breast fed babies will not have this problem.

-Detergents and household chemicals should be kept away from your babies sleeping and play area as they can irritate a young babies airways and cause inflammation.

-Dust mite allergies are not as common in infants as in toddlers but could be a cause of your child’s respiratory problem. Regular dusting will ensure a reduced exposure and may help combat the symptoms.

-Herbal remedies are not commonly recommended for babies and infants. However, Chinese medicine prescribes ginger water for curing infant asthma. Do ensure you get a prescription from a registered Chinese medical practitioner before you prepare any herbs for your babies consumption.

-The Bowen Technique For Asthma is a very popular method used to treat asthma in babies. This is because it is extremely gentle, simple yet effective. This technique works to relax the breathing muscles and help to strengthen the immune system in infants. Whether or not your baby has asthma or bronchitis, this technique targets the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms.

Posted on 26 May 2011
Asthma

Exercise and Asthma

When the attack comes, you know you’re in trouble. You can feel the constriction in your chest as you struggle to catch your every breath. Sometimes, just a minor change in the weather can trigger an attack. At other times, just increasing your level of activity causes the wheezing to commence. However, in what turns out to be an irony of ironies, exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms experienced by an asthma sufferer. By strengthening the respiratory muscles, increasing lung capacity and improving your body’s ability to utilize oxygen, you decrease the sensitivity of your airways and hence, the frequency of asthma episodes. With constant workouts, you don’t get as many exercise-induced asthma attacks. Eventually, you will also reduce your dependency on asthma medication.

Thus, anyone with this condition should include a regular workout regimen. Unlike those who are physically fit, however, exercising with asthma requires following certain guidelines to avoid exercise-induced asthma attacks. By following these safety measures, you should be able to carry on a workout program to stay fit, strong and asthma-free.

The first thing that you should remember is that any workout for those with asthma is pretty much the same as that for any other person. However, instead of exercising for long periods of time continuously, you need to focus on training at lower intensity combined with shorter bursts of exercise so you don’t have to stress your lungs out too much and trigger an attack. For example, if you’re doing an aerobic workout, strive for only a 15 to 20 minute session of comfortable pacing with a few short bursts of high intensity in between.

The location of your exercise matters as well. It is generally recommended that those exercising with asthma do their workouts on water as this prevents their lungs from drying out. The swimming pool is a dust-free environment that is also an essential requirement for any successful workout for those with this condition. This is the reason why swimming is the most beneficial exercise for those with asthma. Aside from the fact that it strengthens the lungs and heart, the position assumed helps clear mucus from the airways. Jogging, cycling and walking are also great exercise alternatives, however, these will have to be done in clean and pollen and dust-free surroundings.

You must always have your inhaler with you during your workout session for obvious reasons. Your dependence on it will continue to grow less and less as you gain strength and endurance, but still, this is always a prudent precautionary measure to take. Incidentally, bringing your inhaler with you is always sensible whether you’re exercising or not.

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Do a thorough 10 minute warm-up before every workout session and never forget to cool down to avoid a narrowing of the arteries which can happen if you abruptly stop a session.

Finally, make your workouts fun and relaxing. Any asthma sufferer knows that stress can precipitate an attack, so it makes sense to ensure that you are not under any form of stress as you do your
workouts.

A regular exercise program is necessary and beneficial for individuals with this condition. Just make sure that you follow common sense so you stay safe while exercising with asthma.

Posted on 25 May 2011
Asthma

Living Well Despite Asthma

Living with asthma can be a physical and emotional drain if not properly controlled. And let’s face it, your condition impacts your entire family with day and night time flare ups, and trips to the emergency room. Gain better control of your asthma by taking these 5 steps to effect a change in your lifestyle.

Develop An Asthma Action Plan – This is a plan that your doctor will develop based on the severity of your condition. It will probably include a peak flow meter, a rescue inhaler, and various medications that suppress your body’s reaction and those that can deal with the symptoms once they start to occur.

Committing to this regimen will lessen the peaks and valleys of this condition making it easier to live a more normal life with less fear and anxiety.

Keep Weight Controlled – Studies have shown that people who are overweight are much more likely to become asthmatic. And being overweight can not only exacerbate the condition but can greatly increase the likelihood of developing other related breathing problems such as sleep apnea.

A well balanced diet of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meat, fish, and grains will keep your body fit; lessen chances of other diseases that often result with obesity such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Eating well will also strengthen your immune system and increase lung function, both of which can result in a better quality of life.

Clean House – Clutter exponentially increases the amount of surface where asthma triggers can collect. Get rid of the piles – books, magazines, mail, clothing, and toys. These are places that are hard to clean or may never get cleaned.

Typical household triggers such as dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, pet dander and seasonal pollen can collect and lie in wait. The result is that the least bit of air current can send them airborne for you to inhale and possibly trigger an attack. Get someone else to de-clutter for the same reason.

Give Attention To The Bedroom – This space more than any other in your home should be one of relaxation, rejuvenation, and sleep. However, dust mites often make this impossible. These tiny bugs are most prolific in the bedroom, and mores specifically your bed.

The warm, dark, and moist conditions that your mattress and pillow offer are ideal. And since they feed on dead skin cells (dander) that are constantly being shed, they are literally happy campers. The feces from these critters are one of the most potent asthma triggers, so it’s important to get this problem under control.

Encasing your mattress and pillows with dust mite covers can greatly reduce their population and make sleeping through the night a reality. Wash your linens weekly in water that is 160 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer to kill them. Sunlight kills the mites, so letting your bed air out frequently will also reduce the population.

Filter Your Air – Irritants that cause debilitating symptoms and flare ups come in both particulate and gaseous forms. Being able to continually trap and eliminate these irritants in one of the most proactive ways to live stronger. By removing the triggers you are following the first and best rule of thumb for asthma – eliminate the triggers.