Breathe Easy

I have spent a lifetime dealing with breathing issues. Asthma, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, empyema, COPD, and now bronchiectasis. Acute attacks of any, or all, of the above can be triggered by seasonal colds or flus, air pollutants, stress, or the weather. One condition can lead to another. It is all rather stressful and varies from annoying to totally debilitating at times.

I have found things that are helpful in avoiding flare ups and dealing with them when they inevitably happen. Hopefully, some of these can help someone else (even with a seasonal cold or flu) or if anyone else has any suggestions, I am always open to trying something new.

1. Get active – keep active. I generally find that the worst thing for me is to spend any amount of time laying down. There is almost always something I can do to keep active, especially now that I am retired and away from an 9 to 5 office job!

2. Dress accordingly. I wear loose tops, especially when I am dealing with a severe flare up. I have a lot of camisoles and sweaters – my go to wardrobe!

3. Relax. Different people have different ways to relax. I have a few things that generally help me, depending on the day and time. I will take a walk, meditate (recently I have been spending time listening to ‘singing bowls’ on You Tube and that definitely helps my meditating), read, have a warm bath, or have a glass of red wine. I wouldn’t recommend self medicating with alcohol for any purpose but it definitely helps once in a while. And it is wine 🙂

4. Laugh. Laughing helps a lot. I have a sister who sends me a humorous meme virtually every day. They generally involve flatulence 🤦 and they generally make me laugh. Thank you, Sis – way to keep me breathing.

5. Deep breathing. Recently I saw my specialist and he said while all physical exercise is good for the lungs, deep breathing exercises are particularly useful in maintaining lung function. He advised inhaling through my nose, pursing my lips and exhaling out of one side of my mouth. (This is helpful in releasing all of the air from the pockets in one’s lungs). So I tried it.

Breathe in..
Breathe out…

I showed my husband and he said I should alternate which side of my mouth I exhale out of. So I tried that…

The other side of my face doesn’t work. 🙄

6. Clean, fresh air. This one should be a given but, when you have bills to pay and your career takes you to office work in a construction company, that isn’t always a given. My advise here would be – if you are young, just starting out, and have vulnerable lungs – choose your career accordingly. A dusty, air conditioned office will eventually lead to serious problems.

7. Doctors, specialists, therapists, inhalers – whatever you need – get it and take it. The trick to respiratory conditions is to do everything in your power to control them and to avoid the acute flare-ups that cause permanent damage. On top of prescribed medications, I take a vitamin D supplement. Since I starting taking vitamin D, I seldom get a cold or flu, which is a good thing with my already compromised lungs.

8. When dealing with any health issues, what works for one person does not necessarily work for everyone. However, regardless of what health issues a person has, there are always things that one can do to make the situation better and things to avoid as they will make matters worse. Just keep trying until you figure out which is which for you.

Fresh air, sunshine and nature – breathe it in.