Dayton Respiratory Center
Spring is a great relief after a chilling winter, but for some, it's time to batten down the hatches. If you are asthmatic, you can easily relate to this situation. With spring comes pollen explosion- the main trigger for asthma and allergies.
Pollen is a fine powdery substance produced by trees, flowers and wild grasses essential for plant reproduction. In spring, plants release pollen into the air, which acts as an allergen and leads to severe breathing issues.
Worldwide, asthma affects 5-10% of people. But, this condition need not restrict you from enjoying this wonderful season. Watch out for the triggers and follow a few steps to manage this condition and enjoy the season.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects your airways. It causes the airways to narrow and swell, often increasing mucus secretions that interfere with normal breathing and lead to coughing, chest tightness, wheezing or even shortness of breath.
An allergic reaction occurs when your body triggers a response towards an otherwise harmless substance. When a highly sensitive allergen (like pollen) acts as the trigger, it is called allergic asthma.
Asthma is not curable, though sometimes it may disappear with age in younger kids. However, it is effectively treatable. Here are a few things that will prevent its onset and help you enjoy life to the fullest.
To manage asthma, you primarily need to learn what triggers it. Asthma triggers are unique for every individual. What triggers a reaction in you might be harmless to someone else.
Pollen is the most common allergen of seasonal asthma. Pollen from different types of grass, trees and weeds can act as an allergen. However, you might be susceptible to only a particular species and unreactive to others. It is, therefore, necessary to identify which species acts as a trigger.
Furthermore, pollen release varies with time and differs from place to place. Many organizations monitor the amount and species of pollen in the air. Keep track of this to help you plan your activities accordingly and prevent a flare-up.
Avoiding or limiting your exposure to allergens is key to managing your asthma. Here are a few steps to limit your exposure to pollen:
Asthma medications depend on varying factors like age, symptoms, severity and side effects. They fall into two categories: preventive and quick-relief.
Preventive or controller medications prevent the onset of an asthma attack. These drugs reduce inflammation and sensitivity of the airways and help dry out any mucus. Quick-relief or rescue medications provide fast relief at the onset of an attack. They help relax the muscles in the airways and improve breathing during a flare-up.
It is very important to keep your medications handy and never skip them. Asthma can change with time. Hence, monitor your symptoms and stay in touch with your doctor to adjust your medications if needed.
A well-balanced diet along with proper exercise ensures a healthy mind and body. To prevent and fight a disease, you must stay healthy. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet, keep yourself hydrated and exercise regularly to fight infections like cold and flu that can trigger an asthma attack.
A study shows that increasing the intake of fresh foods and reducing processed foods can reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. Another study reported the relation between obesity and asthma. It stated that obesity is a risk factor and obese people tend to experience more severe attacks that are less responsive to conventional therapy.
Though more research is needed to understand the relationship between asthma and diet, we all know that a healthy lifestyle decreases the risk of diseases.
One of the most important steps to manage your asthma is creating an asthma action plan. An asthma action plan is a personalized plan that helps to keep your asthma under check. It assists you with medications and the danger signs that signal when you need to call an ambulance.
Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, and he will help you identify the triggers and build your asthma action plan. If your condition worsens even after creating an action plan, seek your doctor's help to update the existing one.
Let asthma not stop you from enjoying the warm weather. A little extra care will help you manage your asthma better. However, seek your doctor's help if your condition doesn't get better.
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