During this time of year it can be difficult to distinguish between having just a cold or seasonal allergies. With the fears of COVID-19, this dilemma becomes even more important, and can be quite frightening with the wrong information. Let’s unpack the symptoms of just a cold, seasonal allergies or COVID-19, and when to be concerned.
Asthma, Colds, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Pneumonia. Many things can affect how well our lungs and airways function. When our lungs are healthy, we can breathe easily. When our lungs are unhealthy, we may experience pain or discomfort when breathing. And when we have trouble breathing, it may be more difficult to do the activities we enjoy. It’s important to know how to deal with certain lung conditions that come from smoking, disease, or infection. To learn more about these conditions and how they’re treated, refer to this helpful resource.
If you battle exercise-induced asthma, you know how tough it can be to get regular exercise. But you can manage asthma in different ways so you can be physically active. Exercise-induced asthma is often not diagnosed, especially in children. If you or your child has symptoms, such as shortness of breath when you begin exercising and trouble breathing that goes away 20 to 30 minutes after exercise, be sure to tell your doctor. Using asthma-controlling medicine before your workout may help reduce symptoms, especially in cold, dry weather.
Good sleep habits, also called sleep hygiene, can help you get a good night’s sleep.
Here are a few tips:
- Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Try not to take naps during the day, because naps may make you less sleepy at night.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol can cause waking in the night and interferes with sleep quality. Sometimes it is necessary to eliminate caffeine completely, but you should do this gradually in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Get regular exercise. Try not to exercise close to bedtime because it may stimulate your body, raising your core body temperature and making it hard to fall asleep.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep.
- Try taking a hot bath for 20-30 minutes immediately before retiring.
- Make your sleeping place comfortable. Be sure that it is dark, quiet, and not too warm or too cold. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan or a “white noise” machine to cover up the sounds.
- Follow a routine to help you relax before sleep. Read a calming book or listen to soothing music.
- Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
- Only go to bed when you are truly sleepy.
- If you can’t fall asleep and don’t feel drowsy after lying in bed for 15 minutes, get up and read or do something that is not overly stimulating until you feel sleepy.
- If you find yourself lying awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list or keep a journal where you chronicle your worries and concerns. This may help you to not focus on those concerns during the night. Set aside time each day, preferably in the early evening, to write these things down.