May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. This time of year is one of the worst for most allergy and asthma sufferers – which is around 65 million Americans.
Asthma is the result of inflammation and narrowing of our airways. Symptoms of asthma attacks include difficulty breathing, chest pain, wheezing, and coughing. For some, symptoms are mild, while for others, it can seriously affect daily life.
Tips to prevent asthma attacks:
- Know what triggers your asthma attacks is key. Keep a diary for several weeks to keep track of your symptoms and note the environments that triggered them. Asthma can also be triggered by emotional changes including stress and anxiety.
- Avoid smoke of any kind. Smoking has been linked to more severe symptoms and more frequent hospitalizations in asthmatics. Even secondhand smoke exposure can trigger symptoms, so avoid public places that allow smoking.
- Stay up to date on your vaccinations. Those with asthma are at greater risk to have complications from the flu or pneumonia and are more likely to be hospitalized from them. Age-appropriate and annual vaccinations (like the flu shot) as recommended by your doctor will protect you in many ways.
- Take asthma medications as prescribed. Long-term medications are meant to prevent symptoms, so take them even when you feel well. Always carry your medication with you to work, school, or when traveling. If you find yourself using short-term inhalers more often, your symptoms are not well-controlled, and you should talk to your doctor.
- Limit allergens at home. Dust can lead to inflammation and trigger an asthma attack, so changing bed linens and vacuuming often can be helpful. Using an air purifier can also help prevent buildup of dust mites.
Asthma is a chronic condition, and its symptoms can change over time. It is vital to get regular checkups, so if you are overdue, make an appointment today. While it can’t be cured, there are many medications to manage symptoms and help you breathe easy.