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Managing Asthma

Managing Asthma

Asthma is a condition that makes it hard to move air in and out of the lungs causing symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. With asthma, the airways to narrow and swell, producing extra mucus that ultimately leads to difficulty breathing. While some people may experience asthma as an occasional inconvenience, for others it can be a major complication to everyday life. Although there is no cure for asthma it can be managed with a treatment plan and it can be beneficial to avoid triggers. Below is a list of major triggers for many asthma sufferers

  • Pollen. Pollen from flowers, grass, weeds, and trees is a common allergen. Pollen peaks during the different seasons, but can linger inside our homes and air ducts all year long.
  • Pets. Pet hair, dander (skin flakes), saliva, urine and feces are all allergens. Having asthma doesn’t mean you can’t have pets, but you do have to be more careful about washing your hands after handling your pet. Keeping their hair brushed and cleaning up any fur lying around are important to keep symptoms at bay.
  • Dust mites. These are tiny creatures too small to be seen with the naked eye. They eat human skin flakes. They can be found in bedcovers, pillows, mattresses, carpets, clothes, and stuffed toys.
  • Mold. Mold grows on almost anything when moisture is around. In homes, it can be found near a wet shower stall or bathtub, under kitchen sinks, nearly leaky pipes or damp basements. Outdoors, mold lives in the leaves or other plant debris, wood or soil.
  • Smoke. Cigarette or cigar smoke, wood fires, and charcoal grill smoke are all triggers.
  • Strong smells. Strong fumes from gasoline, paint, perfumes, and scented soaps and candles are big irritants to the lungs and respiratory track.
  • Dust. Found everywhere, dust is small amounts of all kinds of things like dirt, sand, human and animal hairs, fibers from textiles or paper, burnt particles and much more. Most dust found in the home actually comes from outside the home.
  • Weather. Dry wind, cold air or sudden changes in the weather can sometimes bring on an asthma episode.

Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening. Work with your doctor to determine what to do when your signs and symptoms worsen — and when you need emergency treatment. Signs of an asthma emergency include:

  • Rapid worsening of shortness of breath or wheezing
  • No improvement even after using a quick-relief inhaler, such as albuterol
  • Shortness of breath when you are doing minimal physical activity

The best way to prevent an asthma attack is to follow the plan you and your provider have discussed. Learn your triggers and avoid them whenever possible. Take your medications as directed and use quick-acting medicine as soon as you start to notice symptoms.

To learn more about asthma or to make an appointment at Rodgers Health call 816-307-0152 or request an appointment online