- by Dr Gowher Yusuf
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- Jun 03 2017
Myths and Facts: Asthma
Myth: Asthma comes and goes. It is not always there.
Fact: The symptoms of asthma, i.e. tightness of chest, breathlessness, coughing and wheezing may come and go but asthma is always there. There is a common misconception that asthma comes and goes, and that one should use the medication only when one has the symptoms. It is important to know that asthma is a chronic (long duration) disease which has to be treated by the patient taking medicines continuously even in the absence of symptoms.
Myth: Asthma can be cured.
Fact: You can lead an active and healthy life despite your asthma. If you have asthma or your child does, you can rest assured that you will be able to lead as normal a life as possible. If you and your child follow your physician's advice, educate yourselves about asthma, use your inhaled medication correctly as prescribed by the doctor, and avoid your triggers, there is no reason why asthma should get in the way of your dreams, your life.
Myth: You cannot exercise and play sports if you have asthma.
Fact: You can exercise and play sports even if you have asthma, but you should take your medicines regularly. Swimming is good for asthma. On the other hand, exercising in dry, cold air may be a trigger for some people. It is important that you take your Controller medicines regularly, as prescribed by your doctor. Some asthmatics benefit by using a Reliever before exercising So always keep your Reliever handy too. Do inform your team members, your friends, your gym instructor or your coach about what they should do in case you have an attack.
Myth: Complementary and alternative treatments will benefit me in controlling my asthma. Fact: No! Complementary/alternative treatments will not benefit you in controlling asthma. There is no data that proves their efficacy.
Myth: Asthma can be caught from another person.
Fact: No, asthma is not infectious. You cannot catch asthma from anyone else, and no one else at home or at work can get infected by it.
Myth: A pregnant women should not take asthma inhalers.
Fact: A pregnant woman can take inhalers. In fact, it is important that a pregnant woman continue with regular asthma inhalers as it will give her the best chance of having a healthy baby. Today’s inhalers are so safe, even mothers who breastfeed can take inhalers without any harm to the child.
Myth: If one’s parents do not have history of asthma one cannot have it.
Fact: You could still get asthma if there is a history of allergy in anyone in the family, i.e. not just parents but also siblings, grandparents, immediate family like uncles and aunties. Plus triggers can also cause your asthma attack.
Myth: You grow out of asthma or asthma gets better as you get older.
Fact: Asthma is a life-long condition. A child's asthma can get better or worse over time and some very young children with asthma may get much better as they (and their lungs) grow, but for most people, asthma is present for the rest of their life.
Myth: Inhaled steroids are only for adult patients who have severe asthma and not for children.
Fact: Inhaled steroids are recommended for both adults and children with persistent asthma. It is also recommended that inhaled steroids be used in children with moderate and severe persistent asthma, but at a lower dose. Besides, when inhaled, the dose is 40 times less than when given in tablets and syrups. And since it reaches the part where it is needed most, i.e. the lungs, the side effects are far less and not harmful.
Myth: Asthma symptoms are the same for everyone.
Fact: Asthma can affect each person differently. One person may show several symptoms, such as wheezing, chest tightness, and fatigue, while someone else may only cough. You should know what your symptoms are so you can get help quickly.
Myth: Regular uses of inhalers are habit-forming and addictive.
Fact: No, inhalers are not habit-forming. Just because you have to take your inhaler medicine daily does not mean that it is addictive. Do you consider brushing your teeth daily having your daily bath habit-forming? Well in the same way, using inhalers for your asthma is a good habit which will help you achieve good control over asthma.
Myth: Inhaled medication / inhalers of asthma have steroids and are thus strong and meant only for severe asthma.
Fact: Inhaled medicines are not meant only for severe asthmatics. Asthma is a condition of inflammation (swelling) of the lungs. The best treatment for inflammation of the lungs is steroids, and the most effective way of taking it is through inhalation therapy. When you take inhalation therapy, the steroid medicine goes directly through the lungs and has minimum side effects.
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