Allercy and Asthma Health
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The Official Publication of AAN - MA

13 New Year’s Resolutions for People with Allergies and Asthma

by Carol Proctor, RRT, RPFT, AE-C

If you have allergies and/or asthma, the new year is a great time to review your overall management plan and consider how you can get your symptoms under better control. Here are 13 New Year’s resolutions for 2013 that may help you decide what to work on and why.

  1. I will have an Action Plan developed with my health care provider.  
  2. I will learn not only when to use my medications but how to use them. Additionally, I will practice technique so that I get the most benefit from my medications.
  3. I will eat a nutritious diet high in fruits and vegetables. These will look like nature intended: whole and preferably raw. My diet will include good quality lean protein. I will NOT skip breakfast or any other meal. My body and, in particular, my immune system, require nutrients to work properly.
  4. I will get enough rest. When traveling, working, or during stressful times, I will schedule rest, including naps if needed. A tired body cannot fight off infection and is also injured more easily. Establishing good bedtime habits is essential. This includes routine bedtimes and quiet activities within the last hour of waking.
  5. I will develop healthy coping skills. Stress is a part of life and is caused by even happy events. Think of weddings, new jobs, moves, and houseguests. Victor Frankl said it best in “Man’s Search for Meaning”—it is not what happens to me but how I perceive it that matters. Some people think the universe is out to get them when even minor setbacks occur. Better to emulate the person who handles even major problems with grace and patience.
  6. I will continue to find new and exciting things to do that stretch me as a person. Perhaps photography with that new camera or volunteering with children or animals. There is truly something out there for everyone. Keeping my mind and options open keeps life from becoming stale. The most amazing things may happen when you stop saying “no” to life.
  7. I will get the immunizations that are recommended for me. This includes the annual flu vaccination.
  8. I will practice good hygiene, which begins and ends with proper hand washing techniques. I’ll remember to sing two choruses of “Happy Birthday” while I wash my hands with soap and warm water to ensure I wash long enough. This will help me avoid many illnesses.
  9. I will dress for the weather. That means layering so that I do not get either too cold or too hot. It means either a runner’s mask or light scarf to go over my mouth and nose during cold or windy weather.
  10. I will remember to avoid my triggers. The most common ones are cold, respiratory and sinus infections, pollen, air pollutants, and tobacco smoke.
  11. I will NOT smoke or use tobacco products. This one change benefits every part of my body. It will not only reduce my risk for lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema but also breast, bladder, and oral cancer, among other things. The World Health Organization links smoking to over 300 diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the National Institutes of Health, can point me in the right direction. If I currently smoke, I will seek assistance through my state’s Quitline (a list of states).
  12. I will exercise regularly. This does not mean only on weekends or occasionally but at least 45 minutes, three days a week. I will start small, but get moving often. My walk may only be ten minutes today, but I will gradually increase my time and speed. I will warm-up and cool-down and take my pre-exercise medications, but carry my rescue medications with me, just in case.
  13. I will reward myself often. Setting up a reward contract for promises made and achieved will reinforce the effort until my resolutions become fixed points in my life. Feeling better then becomes a reward in itself. Additionally, I will pat myself on the back for a job well done.

And here’s one more for good measure: If I feel selfish about the time and money all this takes, I will remind myself that I cannot take care of anyone or anything else if I have not taken care of myself.

Carol Proctor is a member of the American Association for Respiratory Care from Clearwater, FL, where she serves on the team at the Lung Center at Morton Plant Mease Healthcare.

 

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