Hi to you all!
Can we discuss this, please?
I realize that shortness of breath, or dyspnea, is caused by many different things — some are not at all serious, and others really require immediate medical attention. I'm not suggesting that anyone who needs a doctor rides it out with home remedies instead, only to possibly end up dead! But I thought it would be helpful to discuss what people who are suffering from shortness of breath for known reasons can do to feel better as soon as possible.
Want to share your tips? What works best for you to manage your shortness of breath, whether chronic or acute?
I've recently come across some very curious supposed natural remedies for shortness of breath, such as ginger, garlic, mustard oil, honey, bitter gourd, and even coffee, of all things. Every time I see everyday things that many people incorporate into their diets as solutions for potentially serious medical issues, I wonder... is that all nonsense or is there any evidence to back these claims up? You'd think if these things were so effective, doctors all over the world would be recommending them...
My aging mother suffers from asthma and allergies and I'm looking for her. I think she'd think I have grown another head if I suggest any of the above, though!
I dunno about coffee, but bitter gourd and the others are for sure anti-inflammatory agents and I guess that's why they're suggested for asthma/shortness of breath. Maybe in the sense of... if you consume these things regularly you're less prone to episodes of shortness of breath and/or wheezing? I doubt anyone's suggesting that any of these things can send acute shortness of breath packing. For that, it's more along the lines of, get to your inhaler ASAP! Apparently different positions can help ease acute shortness of breath. Lying down is good, as is sitting down or standing up but leaning forwards... it helps the lungs expand, I guess?
Some of the things you can do to relieve shortness of breath are:
- Sit or stand in front of a fan.
- Breathing through pursed lips.
- Sitting in a forward posture with your head down.
- Yes, coffee does help if you have asthma. This is because it relaxes the airways. It is definitely worth a try.
- Losing weight if you are at all overweight also helps because being overweight makes it more difficult to breathe and makes you more likely to become out of breath when you exert yourself.
Most of all though, it's important to follow a doctor's instructions.
I'm just recovering from a five-day awful respiratory type virus or bacterial thing that left me feverish, coughing (with phlegm), with a blocked nose, etc, all the usual stuff. But I also found myself very wheezy and short of breath. It was scary at times. I had kind of allergic feelings as well, now I'm not sure if there are any seasonal allergies going on at the moment. I do seem to get one of these every year at around this exact time.
Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this? I didn't see a doctor and I did get through it fine, by the way, but I'm curious.
Around this time of year, ragweed is a very common allergy trigger. Other things that may contribute to the symptoms you described (without explaining them completely) might be dust mites, which you may come into contact with when you start heating or get your fall/winter clothes out, and mold of course.
If it's allergies, I'd expect the allergy symptoms would last longer than the symptoms of whatever bug you had, such as fever. Are the allergy symptoms still present? If so, and you are still plagued by shortness of breath, red and itchy eyes, and things like that, you may wish to consult a physician.
Apart from some quite useful tips already posted here for people dealing with immediate episodes of shortness of breath, I also feel I need to say this... shortness of breath isn't normal. It is a symptom that points to a problem. Maybe one fluke episode can be dismissed if it never happens again, but anyone experiencing dyspnea frequently, even in the case of the person just above saying they had shortness of breath but didn't see a doctor... you know, that's what doctors are there for. You can guess what is wrong with you and ask people online but you ultimately need a doctor's diagnosis.
That almost goes without saying, doesn't it? Of course shortness of breath isn't "normal" and something anybody should ever ignore — but at the same time, there are many people who either have a fear of doctors or cannot afford to see a doctor (unless it is absolutely necessary). Then you add that it's impossible to see a doctor right away and it helps to know what to do in emergency situations.
I'd bet that in this day and age, if people really don't know what to do, they might well Google before they call 911! I know for my gramps with asthma, it was really quite useful to learn forward, relax, and take deep breaths through his lips if he didn't have his pump handy. He could do all those things while someone else was getting his pump for him. Of course, he knew what was wrong with him, so that helped.
I think the best/simplest methods to fight shortness of breath help regardless of the cause.
Those are breathing in through your nose, as deeply as possible, and out through your mouth, slowly. You can breathe through pursed lips if it feels comfortable for you, which slows the exhale down even more. (Practicing deep breathing often also helps chronic dyspnea.) Fresh air may help. Lying down, sometimes with a pillow behind the lack, can help as well.
A strong cup of coffee can indeed work wonders for milder dyspnea, especially allergy based dyspnea. Of course, for respiratory infections, steaming can have a good effect.