…..So many people remark they are SOB, but I think we all deal with it and suffer from it differently…..
Whilst there are varying degrees of any symptom, there are also some pretty uniform ways of self helping your SOB. I do not profess that any of these truly work for the most severe of symptoms but on a day to day basis this is what I generally try to do to cope with mine. If like me you have a COPD element to your asthma then these steps will make sense and you may have already been taught them and/or PLB techniques.
- I get myself in a comfortable position with the medicines I need to hand, and take them, an extra dose or two is not an overdose in this example!
- I try to calm myself down and prevent panic. I reassure anyone I’m with so that they don’t panic and set me off. I always let them call for help if I feel I’m not getting my breathing under control. ((You can always cancel the call if you don’t need assistance.))
- I find I like to go outside, or anywhere where the air quality is different-by a window for instance. I know that even if I’m gasping for air, there is still some oxygen going into my lungs. I tell myself I will be okay.
- I try to relax shoulder and neck muscles. ((When we panic our muscles tighten and make it more difficult for the diaphragm to do its job of drawing air into our lungs.))
- I also know that I can’t draw air into my lungs if I already have stale air in there. So I stop trying to breathe for a moment-I actually practise breath holding for as many seconds as I can manage to slow myself down, it helps to relax and calm me.
- I also slowly squeeze all the air out, using my stomach muscles as well. I try and breathe out for about a count of 8 to really empty my lungs before I inhale as deep and as slow as I can manage. If it doesn’t feel like the air is going all the way in, I don’t worry about it – I know to just breathe out slowly, and breathe in slowly again.
- Hopefully, after a few regulated breaths, I should start to feel things are calming down and my lungs are “opening up” “better” and the air is getting to where it’s needed. Remember this is how I deal with SOB episodes and not asthma attacks as such-I’m not talking about coping with the tightness, just the horrid air feeling of “air hunger”.