Asthma Sufferers Urged to Wear Scarves in Cold to Stop Attacks

If you have asthma, you know what it’s like to feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest. And if you’re a person with asthma in winter, you also know that the colder the air gets, the heavier the elephant is. This year, BBC is promoting scarves as a wintertime solution for ousting the elephant in an asthma person’s life. Wrapping a scarf over your nose and mouth will shut out the cold, damp air and help keep you from suffering an asthma attack that could send you to the hospital.

Asthma is not a condition that anyone who has it takes lightly. Asthma sufferers often experience airway constriction from bronchial muscle contraction, which prevents adequate ventilation of the lungs and subsequent shortness of breath that could become life threatening if not controlled. While inhalers and everyday prescription drugs are the medical norm for most asthmatics, like the scarves, there are nondrug ways to help prevent or lessen asthma flare-ups. For example, research in animal studies shows that a compound from the leaves of the coralberry can prevent bronchial muscle contraction.

It’s also interesting that, in children, eating more fermented foods and eggs, meat and raw (unpasteurized) milk is associated with lower rates of allergy incidence, including asthma. Researchers also noted that when pregnant women take probiotics, or include healthy bacteria in their diets, their children have a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies.

When it comes to probiotics, raw milk is another example of a food that contains beneficial bacteria, the reason being that it hasn't undergone pasteurization that kills off microbes indiscriminately. In fact, one study showed that among more than 8,000 school-aged children in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, those who drank raw milk were 41 percent less likely to develop asthma.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you can help prevent asthma in your child by not taking acetaminophen, as studies show mothers who had used acetaminophen during pregnancy were 13 percent more likely to develop asthma by age 3, and the more acetaminophen used, the greater the risk became.
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