Guide on Living with Asthma

Living with asthma is challenging as there is no cure for it. But knowing asthma triggers and management can help you live with confidence and ease. Read to know more about it.

By URLife Team
03 May 2023

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that can be triggered by a variety of factors, including dust, pollens, and pollution. In India, where air pollution is a major problem in many parts of the country, these triggers can exacerbate asthma symptoms and lead to more severe health outcomes.


Asthma affects 30 million people in India, with the highest prevalence seen in children under the age of 15, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The burden of asthma in India is also believed to be higher among urban populations, as pollution levels in Tier-2 and Tier-1 cities are higher.


Although asthma symptoms can flare up at any time of the year, changing seasons can lead to higher asthma flare-ups, and geographical location can also have a part to play in asthma severity. Asthma symptoms are more frequent and severe in winter because of cold air and increased respiratory infections. So, individuals with asthma ought to be more conscious during winter and seasonal changes. Spring and changing seasons can also lead to asthma being triggered because of an increase in pollen and dust particles.


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Common Asthma Triggers


These are substances that can trigger an allergic reactioncold flu or allergy managing allergies at work. Common allergens that can trigger asthma symptoms include pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mould. When you inhale these allergens, your immune system overreacts and releases chemicals that cause inflammation and narrowing of the airways.


Respiratory infections

Infections like the common cold, flu, and pneumonia can trigger asthma symptoms. These infections cause inflammation and mucus production in the airways, making it difficult to breathe.



Exercise-induced asthma is a type of asthma that is triggered by physical activity. The more you will indulge in physical activities, the worse the symptoms would be. During exercise, you breathe faster and inhale more air, which can cause the airways to narrow. Symptoms usually occur during or after exercise and can include wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.


Cold air

This can also trigger asthma symptoms, especially in people with exercise-induced asthma. When you breathe in cold air, it can cause the airways to narrow and lead to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath which worsens asthma symptoms.


Air pollution

It can irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms. Outdoor air pollution from sources such as vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, and wildfires can worsen asthma symptoms. Indoor air pollution from sources such as tobacco smoke, wood-burning stoves, and cleaning products can also trigger asthma symptoms.


Emotional stress

Being under significant emotional turbulence can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. Stress can cause the release of cortisol, which can cause inflammation and narrowing of the airways. Symptoms can include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.



Some medications can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. Common medications that can trigger asthma symptoms include aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and beta-blockers. It is best to take medication only under medical guidance and through prescription.


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Types of Asthma

Allergic Asthma

Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma in India. It is triggered by exposure to allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander, or mould. The body's immune system overreacts to these allergens, causing inflammation in the airways and triggering asthma symptoms. Allergic asthma can be passed through generations,, and people with this type of asthma may also have other allergies, such as eczema or hay fever.


Non-Allergic Asthma

Non-allergic asthma, as the name suggests, is not triggered by allergens. Instead, it can be caused by a variety of other factors, including exercise, cold air, respiratory infections, stress, or even certain medications. Non-allergic asthma is more common in adults than in children, and it is often associated with other medical conditions, such as obesity or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


Exercise-Induced Asthma

Exercise-induced asthma, also known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, is a type of asthma triggered by physical activity. It affects many people who exercise regularly, especially in cold, dry environments. During exercise, the airways become inflamed and narrow, making it harder to breathe. Symptoms usually occur 5 to 20 minutes after starting exercise and can last for several hours.


Occupational Asthma

Occupational asthma is a type of asthma that is caused by exposure to substances in the workplace. These substances can include dust, chemicals, fumes, or other irritants. Occupational asthma can develop gradually over time or suddenly after a single exposure. It is most common in industries such as farming, manufacturing, or healthcare, where workers are exposed to respiratory hazards.


Childhood Asthma

Childhood asthma is a type of asthma that affects children. It is usually diagnosed before the age of 5 and can improve or disappear as the child grows older. Childhood asthma can be either allergic or non-allergic and is often associated with other allergies or respiratory conditions, such as eczema or sinusitis. Childhood asthma is typically managed with medications, environmental controls, and careful monitoring.


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Treatment for Asthma

Treatment options for asthma can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition, as well as the individual's unique needs and circumstances. 



The first step in treating asthma is an accurate diagnosis. A doctor will evaluate the individual's medical history, conduct a physical exam, and perform lung function tests to determine if asthma is the cause of their symptoms. These tests may include spirometry, which measures lung function, and a peak flow test, which measures how fast air moves out of the lungs.



Using medication can help manage symptoms and prevent exacerbations. There are two main types of asthma medications: quick-relief medications and long-term control medications.


Quick-relief medications, also known as rescue inhalers, are used to relieve symptoms quickly during an asthma attack. These medications include bronchodilators, such as albuterol, which relax the muscles in the airways and open them up to improve breathing.


Long-term control medications are used to prevent asthma symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. These medications include inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, and long-acting bronchodilators.


Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies for asthma may include natural remedies, such as herbal supplements, acupuncture, or breathing techniques. While some people may find relief from alternative therapies, it is important to note that they are not a substitute for medical treatment and should be used in conjunction with medication.


Breathing techniques, such as deep breathing and pursed-lip breathing, can help improve lung function and reduce the severity of asthma symptoms. Yoga and tai chi may also be helpful for improving breathing and reducing stress.


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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Asthma Symptoms

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining overall health, including lung function. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles used for breathing, improve lung capacity, and reduce the severity of asthma symptoms. However, people with asthma may need to take some precautions before starting an exercise program. It is recommended to consult a doctor before starting any exercise program and warm up before exercising and use a quick-relief inhaler if needed.


Scheduling Regular Health Checkups

Regular health checkups are essential for managing asthma. A doctor can monitor asthma symptoms and adjust medications as needed. Regular checkups can also help identify any changes in lung function that may require additional treatment. It is recommended to schedule regular appointments with a doctor and to follow their advice on managing asthma symptoms.


Reducing Exposure to Asthma Triggers

Identifying and avoiding asthma triggers is an important step in managing asthma symptoms. Asthma triggers can vary depending on the individual, but common triggers include pollen, dust mites, mould, pet dander, and smoke. It is recommended to reduce exposure to triggers by using air filters, washing bedding regularly, and avoiding exposure to smoke.


Knowing When to Seek Emergency Care

It is essential to know when to seek emergency care for asthma symptoms. Symptoms such as severe shortness of breath, chest pain, or bluish lips or face may indicate a medical emergency. In such cases, it is recommended to seek medical attention immediately.


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Asthma Action Plan

An asthma action plan is a personalised plan that outlines the steps you should take to manage your asthma symptoms. It is created by your doctor and includes information about your medications, triggers, and symptoms. An asthma action plan can help you:

  • Recognise and manage your symptoms
  • Know when to seek emergency medical care
  • Identify and avoid triggers
  • Monitor your asthma control
  • Adjust your medications as needed


Creating an Asthma Action Plan

Step 1: Identify your asthma triggers

The first step in creating an asthma action plan is to identify your asthma triggers. Common triggers include allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander, as well as irritants such as smoke, pollution, and strong odours. Your doctor can help you identify your triggers and provide guidance on how to avoid them.


Step 2: Understand your symptoms

The next step is to understand your asthma symptoms. Asthma symptoms can include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Your doctor can help you understand your symptoms and provide guidance on how to recognise when your asthma is getting worse.


Step 3: Create a treatment plan

Once you understand your triggers and symptoms, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan. This plan will outline the medications you should take, how often you should take them, and what to do if your symptoms worsen. Your treatment plan will also include instructions on how to use your inhaler and other devices.


Step 4: Monitor your asthma control

Regular monitoring is an important part of managing asthma. Your doctor may recommend using a peak flow metre to measure how well your lungs are functioning. You may also be asked to keep a diary of your symptoms and peak flow readings.


Step 5: Know when to seek emergency care

It is important to know when to seek emergency medical care for asthma. Your doctor can provide guidance on when to seek emergency care and what to do in the event of an asthma attack.


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Importance of Managing Asthma Symptoms for A Better Life.

Reduced Symptoms

One of the primary benefits of managing asthma symptoms is the reduction of symptoms. With proper treatment, people with asthma can experience fewer asthma attacks, fewer emergency room visits, and less severe symptoms. This can help improve overall quality of life and allow individuals to participate in activities they enjoy.


Improved Lung Function

Managing asthma symptoms can also help improve lung function. With proper treatment, people with asthma can experience improved lung function, which can make breathing easier. This can lead to increased physical activity, better sleep, and reduced fatigue.


Reduced Health Risks

Asthma can increase the risk of other health problems, such as respiratory infections and pneumonia. Managing asthma symptoms can help reduce the risk of these health problems and improve overall health.


Better Mental Health

Living with asthma can be stressful, and the fear of having an asthma attack can be overwhelming. Managing asthma symptoms can help reduce anxiety and stress associated with the condition, leading to better mental health and improved quality of life.


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Managing your asthma symptoms requires regular check-ups and adjusting your medication when needed. During winter and seasonal changes, the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms can increase. It is recommended to visit your doctor to keep your asthma in check. You can book an online consultation with a specialist (pulmonologist) on UR.Life.

Health should be a priority always, and at UR.Life, we help you make it one. Our Corporate Wellness programme is designed to support and lift employees so they can be healthy and their most productive self at work. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you are able to bring your whole self to work.

With our Occupational Health Centers and Health Risk Assessment, you can find out which diagnostic tests will be best for your individual needs and get started right away. Our medical professionals ensure that routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies and certified methods ensure that you are always able to put your health first. 

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