Asthma attacks can be scary and even dangerous unless you take the proper precautions. Prevention is an essential aspect of remaining free of any breathing problems. The other half of dealing with asthma is recognizing the onset of symptoms and seeking help.
What Is an Asthma Attack?
An asthma attack is when an allergic reaction causes inflammation and swelling in the airways. Allergens cause the muscles around your airways to produce extra mucus in their efforts to combat this swelling.
Asthma attacks are characterized by wheezing, coughing, and breathing difficulty. The allergens that can set off this condition vary from pollen and dust mites to mold and animal fur. Those living in areas with high concentrations of pollutants should take an active approach to seek prevention.
If your medical history includes asthma attacks and you’re looking for a reliable solution, New Jersey allergist Kathryn Edwards, MD, can help you be allergy-free.
Depending on the severity of an asthma attack, you can treat it at home or seek the help of an expert. The difference between how severe an attack hinges on how quickly you address the symptoms. Catching an attack early on can increase your chances of suffering greater discomfort and keeping clear of any potential danger.
Being conscious of your environment and your medical options is essential in prevention. Try following a few simple tips that will keep your breathing comfortable.
Identify Your Specific Asthma Triggers
Some asthma triggers you can identify purely from your own experience. If you tend to have breathing difficulty in dry or humid air, make a note of this. Also, physical training in these environments may exacerbate your breathing.
The same holds true for pet allergies or certain foods. Pay attention to the circumstances that cause you to experience an asthma attack and you will likely identify the trigger. An allergist can run tests that will pinpoint specific triggers and give you exact prevention and treatment options.
Keep Clear of Allergens
While this tip seems obvious, it may take more than avoiding certain environments.
Sometimes your job or other commitments may require you to be in the presence of irritants. If you’re allergic to pollen, try staying indoors. Avoiding certain perfumes and industrial chemicals like paint and cleaning agents can keep your airways clear.
Take Cold and Flu Prevention Seriously
The common cold and seasonal flu are conditions that arise when your body comes in contact with viral and bacterial particles. Washing your hands regularly with soap and making a conscious effort to keep your hands away from your face will help you stay clear of these.
Also, be aware of the people around you. If they are exhibiting cold or flu symptoms, keep a safe distance from them.
Reinforcing your immune system with vitamin C and zinc will help you deal with colds better. Try and get 20 minutes of daily sun exposure so that you meet your daily vitamin D requirements. If you minimize your chances of falling ill, you’ll be a step ahead in preventing asthma attacks.
Avoid Smoke and Air Pollution
If you live with a smoker, try and get them to engage in their habit in a way that doesn’t affect you. With most public spaces, you shouldn’t have a hard time keeping away from second-hand cigarette smoke. Besides smoke, pollution from industrial sources and automobiles can burden your breathing.
Replacing your HVAC system’s air filters and buying an air purifier can keep your home’s air quality high. The same goes for your car’s air filters. Keep them clean so that you receive the least exposure possible to outdoor air pollutants.
Take Prevention Measures for Your Home
Besides changing your air filters, there are a few other things that will keep your breathing comfortable at home. The first has to do with the sealing of any air leaks. Even the smallest cracks in walls can allow irritants to enter your home and cause asthma attacks. Check to see that there are no cracks where different building materials meet.
Additionally, check to see that the spaces under doors are not big enough to allow dust and pollen to enter. Close a piece of printer paper into your door and window spaces. If you can pull it out without much effort, the space is too big. Adjust the hinges accordingly to minimize the open spaces.
Finally, with regards to your home, keep your air ducts and vents clean. Asthma triggers can become lodged in these areas and enter your home when you turn your furnace or AC on.
Immunotherapy is a way of dealing with asthma where a specialist introduces allergens to your body. This is a process that aims to cause a reaction within your body. The goal is for your immune system to recognize allergens and deal with them more mildly and decisively. Ask your allergist how immunotherapy can help you deal with chronic asthma.
Take Your Asthma Medication
If your doctor prescribes asthma medication, you should take them as instructed in order to prevent attacks. Even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms, asthma medication can keep an allergic reaction from sneaking up on you. In the case that you experience side effects from your medication, let your doctor know. There are several treatment alternatives that you can switch to.
Speak to an Allergist
Knowledge is the cure for fear. Those that experience asthma attacks may be overly cautious about living their lives freely. The best way to alleviate any anxiety you associate with your asthma is to speak to a specialist.
Dr. Kathryn Edwards is a knowledgeable allergist that can help you gain peace of mind. Contact Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy at 609-436-5740 to arrange an appointment today. If you would rather communicate with us online, fill out our contact form and our staff will get back to you promptly. We look forward to helping you deal with your asthma attacks and other breathing issues.