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Of importance, asthma is potentially fatal – if you’re prescribed medications follow instructions and directions closely. It is important to discuss your choice to phase out medications or choose alternate treatments. If mediation is stopped abruptly and without close monitoring, it is likely to recur more aggravated. Prevention however, is a completely different discussion and are ideal when used in conjunction with current medications. Some people are able to stop medications completely but as indicated, this needs to be considered carefully.

The easiest preventative strategies are dietary and environmental. Commonly dietary triggers include MSG (commonly listed as flavour enhancer or 621), sulphites (common in wine, beer and dried fruit), tartrazine (food colouring number 102), salicylates, chocolate and yeast. You may not have issues with all of these foods but identifying your triggers is especially helpful. Common food allergies or intolerances such as dairy products, chocolate, peanuts, wheat and citrus are often problematic as well. Remember removing entire food groups without proper direction is potentially stupid. Remember to see a qualified practitioner.

Common environmental triggers include pollen, animal fur/hair, cockroach droppings, cigarette smoke, household cleaners and chemicals (especially bleach, bathroom, oven and glass/window cleaners), petrol fumes, mould and dust mites. The most important area to focus on is the bedroom – this is especially crucial for kids. Floorboards in lieu of carpet, wooden blinds in lieu of curtains, natural fibres for bedding and bed clothes and natural washing detergents and toiletries are essential. Wash and vacuum as much as possible and change bedding regularly.

Lifestyle strategies such as singing to increase diaphragmatic breathing, swimming to increase lung capacity and postural exercises that strengthen the back and open the chest are brilliant. The Butyeko method of breathing exercises is also fantastic and I have seen a number of people successfully control their asthma with this approach.