Asthma Awareness Month: What Steps To Take
It’s Asthma Awareness Month
Each year in May, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) raises awareness regarding asthma, to inform you on how to prevent it and how to cope with it if you do have it.
It’s a huge topic of discussion because many people have it or know someone who does. There is no cure for asthma or allergies at this time so it may be difficult to overcome. Asthma affects children and adults of any age.
According to AAFA.org, “Ten people a day die from asthma. Asthma affects more than 24.5 million Americans. More than 6 million children under the age of 18 have asthma. More than 50 million Americans have different types of allergies – pollen, skin, latex and more. The rate of allergies is climbing.”
Asthma is caused by the human airway swelling. The swelling closes off circulation in the airways that allow us to have a healthy amount of airflow from our nose, mouth and into our lungs for proper breathing.
Without this, a person experiences trouble breathing along with wheezing and a feeling of a tightness in the chest. It can quickly become fatal if it is not addressed.
Asthma triggers are usually caused by irritants or an allergic reaction to things in the air such as bugs, germs, pollutants, quality of air, dust, and smoke. Smoke is bad.
These triggers break down into three major areas:
Allergies: Asthma caused by allergies is diagnosed by a skin or blood test, which will determine whether or not this type of allergy is seasonal.
Stemmed from the following… dust mites, roaches, pets, mold, and pollen. Any of these can cause an allergic reaction.
Air Quality: Asthma that is triggered by air quality is a result of poor air quality. The oxygen in the air must be clean in order to breathe freely.
The environment we live in can have a negative effect on the quality of air available because of the ozone, pollutants, chemicals, smog, dust, etc., that can cause an asthma attack. Weather can affect a person’s asthma as well. Sudden changes of dramatic temperatures will increase the likelihood of an asthma attack.
Respiratory: Asthma trigger by respiratory infection can come from the following areas: Cold, flu, sore throat, and sinus infections can cause asthma as well as hard exercises that dramatically affect your breathing such as running in cold weather. According to AAFA.org, these signs may not be noticeable until several minutes after exercising.
How to Cope with Asthma
If you are not sure whether you have asthma, consult with your physician to get a medical evaluation. Many people may pass off early signs of asthma triggers as nothing more than a light cough. Your body gives you signs, so listen to it because asthma episodes almost never occur without a warning ahead of time.
If you do have asthma, keep taking your prescribed medication. Talk to your doctor about any and all questions you may have regarding changes in medication or any new symptoms you may have experienced recently. Some medications may require a nebulizer to alleviate your asthma. A nebulizer is a device that changes medication from a liquid to a mist and is effective because the mist can be easily inhaled into the lungs. It can be particularly useful for small children and infants that cannot use an inhaler.
It is possible to live with asthma if you take care of it properly. Stay out of areas where you may be exposed to toxic chemicals or other pollutants that you know trigger your asthma.
Indoor pollution exists, so smoking in your home is not ideal. Increase airflow by opening windows or doors, avoid using odor-hiding fragrances and scented candles. Prevent mold by using exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
If you’re new to asthma medication, you may have received an inhaler. Please aware that more than half of patients who receive these devices do not use them properly. You need a trained professional to consult you before starting on asthma medication.