Some types of asthma may arise out of allergies such as an allergy to animal hair or fur, dust especially while cleaning around the house, cold foods or certain types of food.

Irrespective of the cause or kind of asthma you have, there are certain things one must be aware of, especially when living in cities and urban living conditions.

Smoke

Urban living conditions are host to all kinds of smoke smoke emitting from vehicles, festival smoke owing to firecrackers and certain lamps, second hand smoke or smoke inhaled as a result of passive smoking, smoke caused due to burning of leaves and garbage openly. The causes are many and for someone with asthma, though it may not always be possible to avoid the smoke on the highways, it is advisable to do so whenever possible. It’s assumed that you’re a non smoker if you’re dealing with asthma but if you aren’t one, take all the help you can in order to quit right away.

Small things like turning on the exhaust fan, pulling down the windows when there are street processions passing by that may emit smoke, moving to smoke free zones, wearing a mask or covering the nose and mouth while dusting around the house are a few habits that help.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency can be one of the triggers of asthma and spending time in the sun is the easiest way to ensure that required vitamin D levels are met. Something as simple as a walk in the morning can help achieve this. Besides exposure to the sun, this also provides the body with minimal exercise. It is recommended that you walk on a plain versus a slope, as the latter may cause breathing to get heavier. Walking may follow a pattern consisting of a warm-up phase, an aerobic phase and a cool down phase. While the warm-up phase and the cool down phase need to maintain the same duration, the aerobic phase could be longer. So if you’re walking for say, 30 minutes, the warm-up phase can be five minutes where you walk with a continual slow phase, the aerobic phase can last for 20 minutes where you increase the pace a little bit and maintain it for those 20 minutes, while the cool down phase again needs to observe a duration of five minutes where you slow down, maintain a consistent pace for those five minutes and then finally rest.

Yoga & Breathing Therapy

Learning to regulate your breath can have a profound effect on your mind and body. There are many ways to achieve this – yoga postures and breathing techniques such as pranayam can help you observe your breath such that your body learns to regulate it to prevent attacks. This will also significantly boost your confidence levels. Meditation is something that you need to inculcate into your lifestyle right away. Sitting with yourself (preferably erect with eyes closed), doing nothing for as little as five minutes every day can make all the difference. This will also ensure that your stress levels are in control.

Food

It is important that you learn to recognize your triggers and when it comes to food, while there are certain types of food that all asthma patients should avoid in order to prevent attacks, there may be some which are specific to you that you need to recognize. For example, cold foods and fried / oily foods are some things that are best avoided when you’re dealing with a respiratory condition. And for some people, consuming certain fruits like guavas or bananas can trigger an attack.

It’s also observed that lower cholesterol levels in the body help control asthma.

Medication

Though most doctors strongly recommend drugs to help cope with asthma, some researchers advise steering clear from them. Natural therapy such as Ayurveda and homeopathy has been known to cure people completely from asthma. If lifestyle modifications don’t work, it is advisable that one opts for natural therapies than completely moving to drugs.

There are also natural home remedies, herbs and plants that help with asthma. Tulsi leaves, honey, ginger is some of many.

Inhalers or pumps also are commonly known to help cope with asthma attacks and are a great support till you learn to manage the condition on your own.

Most of all, it’s important to remember that there’s nothing weak about having to deal with asthma. It’s also important to relax and be patient with yourself. There’s nothing a calm mind and a relaxed body cannot do eating right, exercising, doing things that make you happy or to sum it up, loving, taking care of and being compassionate with yourself should get you there.

“We’re going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.”

“What do you do at Grandma and Grandpa’s house?”

“Anything I want.”

(Source: Humans of New York)

Aside from helping them in their day-to-day activities like providing support when they stand, reading out the news, helping them button their shirt, cut their nails or groom themselves in general, there is a lot more we can do for grandma and grandpa.

Top 5 things that we can do for our grandparents are

Talk to them, make sure they talk – to you, family, their friends, neighbours and old colleagues. It’s important that they keep their energy flowing through social ties as much as possible. Help them to make phone calls. Grandparents always remember birth dates. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to write them on the calendar and keep it within their sight.

Make conversation, find out what they need – emotionally and otherwise. If you’re going to the market or even to work, ask them if you can get them anything. You’ll be surprised to find how similar grandparents are too small children. They’re reliving their childhood with age old wisdom, it’s a different time to be in and they will not hesitate to tell you if they want something – you just have to be a bit more open.

Whether or not they require your assistance in reading the news, it’s a good idea to discuss it with them. Ask them what their views are on something, share your opinion, start a small debate or just crib about how newspapers these days are only about celebrity murder mysteries! Discuss politics, cricket or whatever it is that interests them.

With age, loneliness can set in and social engagement is a good way of keeping the spirit alive.

It is rightly said that ‘those who are older should speak, as wisdom comes with age’. They have seen and experienced much more, and we must not stop seeking their advice even if we think we are old enough to think for ourselves. It creates a disconnect between them and us, and even if it may seem unnecessary to seek their advice on certain matters, knowing that you still confide in them and seek their advice creates a healthy balance in the family.

It may be some girl you are trying to woo, or if you’re older, it may be that you’re planning to move to another city or start a new business. Whatever the case maybe, it’s always good to take their opinion, even if you may not go through with it entirely. If not take an opinion, the least one can do is share.

On a lighter and slightly selfish note, it’s also much easier to confide in your grandmother if there’s a girl or boy you fancy. They are your first friends after all and if or when the time comes, it’s they who are going to stand by you, as always!! Sharing it with them only makes it simpler.

Besides seeking learnings, there are also many things we can teach them – things that they are willing to learn but have trouble grasping, owing to age. A lot of seniors these days face hurdles not being able to use computers, smartphones or other gadgets. Whether it is to make a video call to their children who live miles away, send an email or even just use Facebook, they require our help in showing them how to get going. Do not lose patience or ignore their demands. If they are willing to learn, take some time out to teach them.

Just like you need a break from work, they need a breath of fresh air after being indoors for long periods of time. Most people like to regularly go for walks in the neighbourhood. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to plan family outings from time to time. If something big isn’t feasible, one could at least move out of the neighbourhood and visit a new park or beach. Invite other friends or family sometimes, take a few photos, build sand sculptures or if nothing, just relax. It’s important to be outdoors – it is very refreshing and helps to change negative patterns of thought.

Do they like music? If yes, create a playlist of their favourite songs and make sure they have access to them – either on their phone, music player or computer. Teach them to use the device or if they can’t, put it on for them sometime during the day.

Do they like reading? Keep a well-stocked library of books in your home. Subscribe to magazines that they may enjoy or newspapers they prefer.

Do they like to create? Learn from them how to make beautiful garlands and if not knit a whole sweater, you could learn to knit/crochet at the most basic level. Ask them to knit something fashionable for you and flaunt it amongst your friends when they are around!

Thank them a lot.

There are countless things we can do, let’s do all that is possible.