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4 Simple Steps to Asthma Control and an Active Lifestyle

Posted May 15 2012 12:00am
We manage my daughter's asthma symptoms and watch for her triggers to help keep her participating in sports, dance and an active lifestyle

May is Asthma Awareness Month

Why are nearly 26 million Americans, including my daughter and more than 7 million children, affected by asthma? 

Although air quality has improved in the US, the chronic respiratory disease that is asthma is on the rise and it's affecting low income and minority populations at the highest rates.  The CDC is baffled but a study by the Silent Spring Institute and published in Environmental Health Perspectives this year finds that many consumer products have at least one chemical linked to hormone changes (endocrine disruption) or asthma.
"Some products that contained high concentrations of chemicals of concern include vinyl products like shower curtains and pillow protectors; products with fragrance, like dryer sheets; and sunscreens, including some marketed for children and babies." - Daily Green
Once again the need for an updated Toxic Chemicals Act is shown to us through the illnesses of our children.  My daughter has asthma and her little sister may have it too.  It is frightening, to say the least, to watch your child gasp for air and worry that you are going to watch your child die in front of you as you run for the inhaler.  

  
"Asthma is a disease that touches the lives of American families every day. EPA is working hard to clean the air we breathe and reduce the environmental causes of asthma and other respiratory illnesses,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “As we mark Asthma Awareness Month, it’s important for parents and children to learn more about the disease and its triggers, so we can prevent asthma attacks and better protect our health and our children's health."
If you suffer from asthma, you can learn to control your symptoms and still maintain an active lifestyles with these 4 simple steps:
  1. Know your Asthma Triggers and Avoid Them: Air pollution, dust mites, mold, secondhand smoke as well as chemicals in consumer products like perfume, cleaning products and air fresheners can cause an asthma attack. Learn your triggers and avoid them in your home and environment. 
  2. Create an Asthma Action Plan: You can help avoid the emergency room and frightening episodes by managing your asthma daily. With a doctor's help, you can create an asthma action plan to help you effectively manage your asthma and reduce exposure to triggers.  Be aware too that your plan may change depending on the season.  There are many homeopathic remedies that can be used in conjunction with your medications to reduce symptoms so ask your doctor.  My doctor has even suggested we try acupuncture for my daughter's asthma and I am thinking of adding that to our asthma plan.
  3. Get Active: Even if you have asthma, by taking the appropriate medications and avoiding your triggers, you can still participate in sports and activities.  My daughter still maintains a very active lifestyle.  She was on the track team at school this year and she came in 2nd in the 400 at our county Track Fest.
  4. Be "Air Aware": Be sure to check local air quality conditions at airnow.gov to make informed decisions about participating in outdoor activities.  And believe it or not, there is an app to help asthma sufferers figure out when it is and isn't the best idea to be outside. The Air Quality Index mobile app is now available for smart phones and a really useful tool to help manage asthma symptoms. 
For an eye opening article on asthma and chemicals in consumer products, please visit Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families .



P.S.- Have you heard about The Green PolkaDot Box ! Recently launched with over 12,000 members and backed by the Organic Consumer's Association, you can easily buy NonGMO organics at wholesale pricing online.  It's like a Sam's club but focused on products for green, healthy living!!  You can even shop by dietary restrictions like gluten free, vegan or diabetic.

Source: EPA, WestVirginiaAsthma.org, Daily Green
Photo Sources: RJS, istockphoto.com
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