Asthma or upper respiratory symptoms

Asthma or upper respiratory symptoms

Breathing Easier – Is It Possible?

A doctor helping a child patient with an inhaler for asthma in his office at a medical clinic. A healthcare worker consulting a girl with chest or respiratory problems with pump in a children’s hospital

If you are one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from asthma or upper respiratory symptoms due to allergies, the answer is “Yes!”

Whether you are experiencing the runny nose and itchy eyes of hay fever or the wheezing and shortness of breath associated with asthma, there are winning strategies you can enlist to minimize the occurrence of asthma and allergy attacks in your daily life. Moreover, various medications are available to aid in the prevention of attacks over the long term. With a little attention and diligence, yes, you can breathe easier.

Here’s What You Can Do To “Breathe Easier”:
Understand What Triggers An Attack
Inside or outside, particles in the air we breathe can induce asthma or allergy attacks. Pollen, dust mites, pet dander, house dust, molds, cockroaches and pollution are just some of the many environmental “triggers”. Various respiratory illnesses such as the common cold and the flu can also trigger an episode as can cold air, tobacco smoke, and exercise. No two people suffer from exactly the same triggers.

Keep A Diary

It is important to discover which triggers affect you the most and then to prioritize their management. By keeping an allergy/asthma diary you may be able to isolate suspected triggers. If it is difficult to discover particular triggers, limit your exposure to one possible trigger at a time and keep a log to see if you feel any better.

Control Your Exposure – Outdoors

Outdoor triggers are hard to control. It’s best to stay indoors whenever pollen or pollution levels are high. Avoid piles of leaves or grass clippings that often harbor mold spores, pollens and dust. Stay away from lawn mowing, bus fumes and the smoke from wood burning.

Control Your Exposure – Indoors
Air conditioning can help on two fronts. By allowing windows and doors to remain closed it keeps some pollen and mold spores out. It also lowers humidity in the house and lower humidity aids in the control of mold and dust mites.

Tobacco and wood smoke are quite problematic for asthma and allergy sufferers. Family members should smoke outside and wood stoves and fireplaces should be avoided.

Most pets can cause problems. If you discover that your pet is a trigger, the best action is to remove it from your home. Because pet allergen remains in house dust for quite some time it may take a while for symptoms to abate. If you keep your pet, be sure to keep it out of the bedroom. Ask a family member to bathe the pet weekly to reduce dander in the home.

Dust Mites are one of the top triggers for allergy and asthma sufferers. Use allergen-impermeable covers on your mattress and pillows, being sure to tape over zippers. Wash all bedding every week in water at 130 degrees F or higher and remove the bedspread at night. Remove carpets from the bedroom, put clothes in plastic bags in the closet (not dry cleaning bags) and keep the house well dusted.

Avoid vacuuming because vacuum cleaners stir up dust and allergens.

Young woman using her asthma inhaler at home

Proper Use Of Medications
Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways. Some allergies create the same inflammation. Depending on the severity of your allergy or asthma, your doctor may have prescribed medications such as anti-inflammatories, leukotriene inhibitors, or bronchodilators. By carefully maintaining your prescribed regimen you can help control symptoms over the long haul.

The best strategy for breathing easier is to learn as much as you can about your allergy or asthma. Know your triggers and work to minimize or avoid them. Look to your doctor as a partner and maintain your medication regimen.

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