New Mexico Health Connections | my connection | Spring 2020

2 { MYCONNECTION } { W E L L N E S S } Spring FWD A GREAT TIME TO MAKE HEALTHY CHANGES Asthma has a variety of symptoms: coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath. But there’s one thing it shouldn’t make you feel: powerless. In fact, there’s a lot you can do to keep asthma symptoms from flaring up in the first place. Your doctor can show you how. Find your triggers Your physician can work with you to develop a plan that will help keep your asthma under control so you can live a healthy, active life. The first step is to identify your asthma triggers. These are irritants and allergens that cause your asthma symptoms. Triggers vary from person to person but may include dust, animal dander, tobacco smoke, mold, pollen, polluted air and chemicals from products such as hair spray. Your doctor can give you advice on how to reduce your exposure to triggers. Keep symptoms in check The next step is to faithfully take the medicines that help prevent and control your asthma symptoms. Most people with asthma use both long-term and fast-relief medicines. Long-term medicines help keep the airways open and can prevent asthma symptoms from flaring up. They come in both inhaled and pill form and should be used daily as advised by your doctor. Fast-relief medicines can help control asthma symptoms when they occur. You should carry a quick-relief inhaler throughout the day and use it as directed. Your doctor also may recommend using a peak flow meter. When you blow into the device, it displays a number that shows how well your lungs are working. Your doctor will help you determine your personal best peak flow number. When your peak flow meter shows this number, your asthma is under control. Prepare for emergencies You’ll also need to know what to do if you have a serious asthma attack. You should call your doctor if: Make an asthma action plan M any of us launch the new year with resolutions to improve ourselves. Those resolutions often fizzle in a few weeks or months. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until next January to get a fresh start. The beginning of daylight saving time, with brighter, warmer days, is a great time to make a fresh start. Spring into better health with one of these bright ideas. Give your kitchen a makeover. Take time to say out with the old and unhealthy and in with fresh, new food options. You can get some spring cleaning in at the same time. First, go through the fridge and pantry. Start by discarding anything that’s spoiled or expired. Next, take stock of sugary or salty foods, and toss most of them. You might keep one or two of your favorite snacks, though, for an occasional indulgence. Finally, do a little menu planning. What does your family enjoy? What types of colorful produce are in season? Plan simple, nutritious meals, and then go shopping to stock your newly cleared kitchen.