Unveiling Common Myths

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MYTH : Asthma can be cured
FACT : There is no cure for asthma but a few changes in your lifestyle, proper medication and regular monitoring of your disease can help you lead a normal, active life with little disturbance to quality of life.
MYTH : Asthma is “all in the mind”
FACT : Asthma is not a psychological condition. However in some cases, an attack of asthma may be caused from an emotional disturbance. Such attacks are termed as Psychogenic asthmatic attack. Emotions like anger, grief, stress, anxiety etc. can intensify asthma symptoms.
MYTH : Children “grow out of” asthma
FACT : Asthma is a chronic state of hyper-responsiveness. 50% of children with asthma have no symptoms by the time they reach the teenage years. However the tendency of the airways to be sensitive still remains, as a result symptoms may reoccur at any time in adulthood.
MYTH : Asthma is not a serious disease and nobody dies of it
FACT : Proper medications, monitoring of your symptoms and judicious control of asthma can prevent many a deaths. But if the disease is neglected it can prove to be serious resulting in emergency hospitalization and possible death.
MYTH : Asthma is infectious disease
FACT : Asthma occurs due to hyper-responsiveness of the airways to certain factors like, allergens, medicines, smoking, climate, emotional factors etc. As no infecting organism is involved it is not infectious and cannot be transmitted from one person to the other.
MYTH : You have chances of having asthma if someone in the family has it
FACT : You have a 6% chance of having asthma if neither parent has the condition; a 30% chance if one parent has it; and a 70% chance if both parents have it.
MYTH : Inhaled medications, including corticosteroid are dangerous
FACT : These medications are very safe and effective and life saving means to treat asthma but can prove to be dangerous if not taken under supervision or consultation with the doctor. Hence it is very important that the medicines should be taken under the guidance of your doctor. If a medicine is losing its effectiveness, consult your doctor and never increase the dose or frequency of the medicine on your own.
MYTH : Asthma medications are habit forming
FACT : Asthma medicines are not addictive, but any medicine if overused can be habit forming or prove fatal. Asthma medicines basically act as a savior for control of acute attack of asthma and otherwise. So it should be taken whenever required or as directed by your doctor.
MYTH : Asthma patients should not exercise
FACT : Exercising in moderate amount may help in controlling asthma as exercise helps to improve the strength of the lungs and airways. But always remember to consult your doctor before starting. Equipped with proper medication, people with asthma can exercise without any risk. They can try sports that involve short bursts of exertion interspersed with rest periods like tennis, golf, baseball, and volleyball  However, patient suffering from exercise-induced asthma should not indulge in exercises as it may worsen their condition.
MYTH : Smoking does not cause an asthmatic attack
FACT : Smoking is a known trigger of asthma. Tobacco or cigarette smoking causes narrowing of the airways in active as well as passive smokers. Also smoke from wood-burning heating stoves and fireplaces can be extremely irritating to asthmatics because of the release of chemicals such as sulfur dioxide. Hence, it is wise to avoid it.
MYTH : Does moving to a different location like desert cure asthma
FACT : Moving to a different environment may relieve your symptoms to some extent but it does not cure your asthma. Sensitivity to the new environment can develop in a short period and the asthma symptoms may return with the same or even greater intensity than before.
MYTH : Alternative medicines are as effective as prescription medicines
FACT : Alternative medications have only recently been subjected to scientific observations, so the safety and effectiveness of these medicines remains unknown. Hence alternative medications should never substitute for scientific proven medical treatments. But alternative medical system like ayurveda and homeopathy are well proven scientifically and have known to prevent attacks of asthma. However, care should be taken that if the patient is already on some steroids they should not be stopped abruptly but instead tapered off gradually.
MYTH : Continuous exposure to pets will decrease allergies
FACT : This is a very wrong notion, as it will only further worsen your condition especially if you are suffering from allergic asthma. Therefore, it is best to remove the pet from the home. If this is not possible at least take care to keep the pet out of the bedroom, bathe it twice weekly. Have a non-allergic family member brush the pet outside and clean its cage frequently.
MYTH : Some dog breeds are better for people with asthma and allergies
FACT : A protein found in the pet’s saliva, dander and urine is the triggering factor for causing asthma attack in some individuals. Since all dogs have dander, saliva and urine there are no particular breeds, which could be better for the patients with asthma or allergy.
MYTH : Mothers with allergic asthma should not breastfeed
FACT : This again is a wrong myth as infants who are breastfed are less likely to develop allergies than those who are not as mother’s milk is rich in antibodies that help to boost up the immune system of the baby.
MYTH : Does moving to a hill station help cure asthma
FACT : The air in the hilly region is thinner and dry and therefore will further worsen the symptoms of asthma. However, a humid climate in these region may help to relief the symptoms to some extent as humidity helps breathing