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Friday, May 20, 2011

Crying can cause an asthma attack

I found out first hand this week that crying can cause an asthma attack. Strong emotions are usually included on most lists of possible asthma triggers. I am here to tell you that I have personally experienced it, and it is a trigger!

My college aged son moved out this week, and you would have thought it was the end of the world. Well, he is my first to leave home, you know.

I was doing the "ugly cry" as Oprah calls it. The one where you are sobbing so hard, you can't catch your breath. Then the asthma cough started and I knew I was in trouble. I knew I needed to calm down.

I was debating grabbing my inhaler or the nebulizer. I was crying so hard I knew there was no way I could use my inhaler, I couldn't breathe in deep enough to get anything into my lungs.

So, first I started to 'belly breathe." Good thing I had taught the Open Airways class for American Lung Association, and learned how to belly breathe. With asthma, you often times start to breathe shallow, and actually "pant," after all-asthma is the Greek word for panting. See, you learn something new every day!

With belly breathing, you simply breathe in through your nose and slowly blow the air out through your mouth (hold your lips like you are blowing up a balloon.) Open Airways teaches the kids to put their hands on their belly to feel it get big when they breathe in, then get smaller when they breathe out. And it works on grown ups too. It did on me.

I was able to calm down enough to avoid using my inhaler or nebulizer.

But fair warning-any strong emotion can cause an asthma attack. Fear, anger, crying, laughing or any stress can trigger an asthma attack. If that happens, remember to belly breathe but keep your inhaler or nebulizer close by.

And lock the doors so the kids can't leave home.

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