Millions of Americans affected by asthma know close to anything can trigger an attack. We look at the triggers and asthma relief options available.
Having an action plan for asthma relief is critical to avoid the often frightening symptoms of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Working with your doctor to locate what triggers your asthma will provide you with a map on your journey to better breathing, but how do you avoid triggers? Let’s look at a few specific causes of asthma flareups and troubleshoot some ways to curb your exposure to these elements that can have a significantly negative impact on your day-to-day life.
Allergens – Food
A food and drug additive and preservative called sulfites are used in foods like dry fruits, juice, shellfish, lobster, pickled vegetables, and wine. According to the 2012 publication, Sulfa Allergies vs. Sulfite Allergies by Michael Kerr and George Krucik, MD, sulfites are the ninth most common food allergen, and approximately 1 percent of people, most of whom are asthmatics, are sensitive to sulfites.
Tools for lessening exposure: Keep a food diary that tracks what you are consuming and how your body responds to specific meals. Avoid any ingredients that cause asthma flareups.
Allergens – Environmental
The droppings of cockroaches and dust mites often stir up an allergic reaction in asthmatics, in addition to elements like pet dander, mold, and pollen. The best way to steer clear of these triggers is to create an allergen-free space in your home by putting into action the following suggestions:
- Eliminate cockroaches by keeping food stored away and promptly washing dishes. Use baits to trap the intruders and if necessary, contact a local pest control company to crack down on infestation.
- Keep your home dust-free by vacuuming with an appliance that contains a HEPA filter. Enclose your mattress and pillows with an allergen-specific cover and wash linens weekly. It is also important to regulate the humidity to less than 60 percent by installing a humidifier.
- Mold, pet dander, and pollen can also exacerbate asthma flareups, so part of your action plan should include creating a stable breathing environment. After you have taken the steps to clean your home, fixed any source that can be contributing to an outbreak of mold, and installed a filter to your heating and air conditioning unit to trap allergens, make sure you wash the air of any remaining particles with a dual-system humidifier and purifier.
Strong Odors and Chemicals
While an asthma attack varies from person to person, it is best to steer clear of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. This also includes smoking, which is extremely hazardous to the respiratory system, especially to those who have asthma. Strong smelling chemicals and perfume can also trigger an attack so resist the urge to excessively applying during use.
Each season poses its own challenges when it comes to asthma but coming up with a proactive plan to provide asthma relief from triggers will reap significant rewards of better breathing. Don’t let asthma interfere with your day or stop you from living a full, healthy life!