Make Valentine’s Day An Asthma-Friendly Day
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your significant other how much you care. However, when that special someone has asthma, many traditional gifts can worsen symptoms and make it hard to breathe. The American Lung Association offers the following tips that can help make your Valentine’s Day more asthma-friendly.
Learn more about asthma
Asthma is a chronic (or lifelong) disease that can be serious—even life-threatening. There is no cure for asthma. The good news is that with proper management, you or your loved one with asthma can live a normal, healthy life. The more you can learn about asthma, the better you and your loved ones can manage living with this disease, making the most of every day and maintaining a high quality of life.
To get started, visit the American Lung Association’s asthma website where you can find helpful information and resources including diagnosis, treatment, self-management, avoiding triggers, educational videos and much more.
Take the free Asthma Basics course: The American Lung Association's Asthma Basics program is offered as a self-paced online learning module or an in-person workshop and designed to help people learn more about asthma. The program is ideal for frontline healthcare professionals, such as school nurses or community health workers, as well as individuals with asthma, parents of children with asthma, and co-workers, friends and family who want to learn more about asthma. The Asthma Basics online learning module is available in English and Spanish.
In addition, you can view the Lung Association’s NEW Asthma Webcast Series: “Getting Familiar with Asthma” and Is It More Than Just Bad Asthma,” to help understand asthma control and types of asthma including severe asthma.
Live your best life by managing your asthma
Asthma can be diagnosed at any time in one's life. While there is no cure for asthma, it can be managed by working with a healthcare provider to develop a plan to avoid asthma triggers and use medication properly. Asthma is a chronic disease that is episodic, meaning that it can come and go. Get tips and tools to help you take control of your asthma. Create a management plan to track your medication and healthcare needs, learn about reducing asthma triggers and get advice on working with your doctors and caregivers.
Manage your asthma with good asthma control
Take the My Asthma Control Assessment by answering seven short questions to determine your overall asthma control. Use the downloadable summary as a guide to talk with your healthcare provider about asthma treatment options and how to improve control.
Create asthma-friendly environments
Make sure the places you visit most often do not increase your chances of an asthma emergency. Find out what you, your family and your coworkers can do to create asthma-friendly environments.
Low-pollen/no-pollen, fragrance-free flowers and plants
Flowers are a traditional way to say "I love you," but many varieties can cause asthma and allergy symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing. However, this doesn’t mean your loved ones can’t enjoy fresh-cut blooms or flowering plants. Here are some tips to make an asthma and allergy-friendly selection that everyone can enjoy:
- Fresh Flowers: Ask your florist to create a low pollen, low fragrant asthma-friendly bouquet.
- Potted Plants: A container herb garden with parsley and thyme, or orchids, miniature roses and ivy are pollen-free choices. Be mindful that indoor plants can be a source of mold - a common asthma trigger. To avoid mold growth, do not overwater plants, keep them in a sunny spot and remove any dead parts immediately. Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust.
Perfume, cologne and scented body products may help your sweetie smell nice, but the chemicals in both can worsen asthma and allergy symptoms like wheezing, nausea and headaches. Consider fragrance-free gifts, such as:
- Unscented bath products: Give your loved one a basket full of unscented soaps, bath salts, lotions and shampoo. They are just as luxurious as their scented counterparts but should not cause asthma symptoms.
- Unscented candles: Candles create a romantic atmosphere, but their scent can trigger asthma. Unscented candles have the same effect without the trigger. Another option is to use the flameless, electric candles instead. They come in many sizes and provide a lovely glow.
- Fragrance-free spa gifts: Who doesn’t love a day at the spa? Before purchasing a spa service ask if a fragrance-free option is available, including unscented oils, candles and lotions.
Avoid exposure to smoke
Cigarette and cigar smoke, e-cigarettes/vaping, and wood-burning fireplaces and stoves can trigger an asthma episode, so choose a smoke-free environment for that cozy dinner for two.
Here are a few more ways you can show your loved one how much you care.
- If you smoke, make a plan to quit. Visit Freedom From Smoking Online for information to help you, a friend or family member quit smoking.
- Get a flu vaccine. One of the main causes of asthma episodes is a respiratory infection like the flu. It’s not too late to get a flu shot - find out more about the flu.
- Join a support community. Even caregivers could use a little help at times. Join the Lung Association’s Online Support Community to meet others caring for individuals with lung disease.
- Be active together. Exercise is important for everyone, including people with asthma. Participating in physical activities can be more fun with the ones you love.
- Manage emotions. Emotions can run high for everyone on Valentine’s Day. Stress, excitement, anger, crying, and even laughing really hard can trigger an asthma episode. Practice deep breathing to help reduce stress and excitement. Remember to eat healthy and get plenty of rest.
An important part of living with asthma is finding the right support, both for patients and caregivers. More Questions: Talk to experts by contacting the Lung Helpline and Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA.
What are your tips for an asthma-friendly Valentine's Day? Share in the comments below!
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