If you’re one of the 26 million Americans with asthma, the spring season might have you bracing yourself as you prepare for potential asthma attacks. Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung airways that causes chest tightness, coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath. Asthma conditions can be worsened by extremely dry, wet, or windy weather conditions. In order to decrease your asthma attacks and doctor’s visits, it’s important to know which factors may cause a wheezing episode. Here are 10 common asthma triggers to avoid.
When you were diagnosed with asthma, your doctor probably told you that tobacco smoke is horrible for people with asthma. If you’re a smoker, it’s time to quit. If you live with a smoker or are regularly in the presence of smokers, know that secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack. Let people know that you have asthma and they can’t smoke near you, including at your house and in your car. Ask your doctor for this test which may keep asthmatics out of the hospital.
These teeny tiny bugs are in almost every home, but if you have asthma, they can trigger an attack. To help reduce exposure to dust mites and prevent attacks, use mattress covers and pillowcase covers to create a barrier between dust mites and yourself. Avoid using down-filled pillows, quilts, or comforters. Remove stuffed animals and clutter from your bedroom and vacuum weekly with a HEPA filter. Wash your bedding weekly in hot water, at about 130°F. You might want to use home air filters and make sure you’re changing them regularly as well.
Some asthma sufferers find that their symptoms worsen in the workplace. You may be experiencing occupational asthma if your symptoms worsen when you’re at work and improve when you’re at home. Irritants could include latex gloves, medications you might work with, cleaning products, and chemicals in the air, according to the American Academy of Allergy & Immunology. If you work at a job that uses chemicals or there might be construction and renovations underway that exacerbate symptoms, talk to your doctor and your manager about how to reduce your exposure.
While many of us are excited about the warm spring temperatures and plants poking through the ground, it can be a rough season for people with asthma. Grasses, trees, weeds, and plants produce pollens that are inhaled, especially when they’re blowing through the air on windy days. Pollen may cause seasonal allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma. To reduce exposure, keep windows closed during pollen season, especially during the day. Dry clothes in your dryer instead of hanging them out to dry. Avoid being outdoors or at least exercising during peak pollen times when the forecast says the pollen count is high. Wash your hair (or wear a hat outdoors) and remove clothes and shoes after coming in from outside to avoid bringing the pollen inside. Your doctor can help identify which pollens you’re sensitive to as well.
When air quality forecast says the air quality is low or poor, that pollution from cars (especially in a high-traffic area) and factories can trigger an asthma attack. You might want to keep your workouts indoors that day and avoid areas that be exposed to poor air quality. Keep your car windows up if you’re exposed to air pollution on your commute too!
As much as we love them, our furry pets can trigger an asthma attack. If you think your pet’s dander may be causing asthma attacks, talk to your doctor about some solutions. Breathing animal allergens can make respiratory symptoms worse in some people with asthma and lead to a decline in the ability of the lungs to function. Your doctor may suggest finding a new home for your pet if he or she thinks the pet is a problem for your asthma and overall health. Or, they might suggest changes like minimizing exposure to their fur by keeping the pet out of the bedroom, bathing them weekly, and vacuuming and mopping often. Could your bedroom be adding to your breathing problems?
Some people experience exercise-induced asthma, also often referred to as bronchoconstriction, which might lead to coughing, wheezing, fatigue, and other symptoms due to the lung airways narrowing during/after strenuous exercise. Talk to your doctor right away if you experience these symptoms after working out to get an accurate diagnosis.
Breathing in mold can cause an asthma attack in some asthma sufferers but eliminating mold in your home may help control your attacks. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep the humidity level low and prevent mold growth, particularly in the basement and make sure you fix water leaks. You should also use an exhaust fan after showering or taking a bath to reduce mold growth in the bathroom.
If you were a victim of this year’s horrific flu season, that infection probably did a number on your body but may have triggered asthma attacks as well. Infections linked to the flu, the common cold, respiratory illnesses, and even sinus infections can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Call your doctor immediately when you feel like you’re coming down with an illness to get an expert take on the severity of your health situation. Here are some signs you’re about to get sick.
Read the full article on Doctor Oz.
Diana can help with:
Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.