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Asthma Awareness Month

May is Asthma Awareness Month: Know Your Triggers

Asthma is a condition that affects the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. When the breathing tubes are inflamed, the air passages become narrow. This makes it difficult to get air in and out of the lungs. An asthma attack is usually set off by a trigger like allergens, exercise or weather.

Below are a list of common asthma triggers and tips for avoiding or reducing them:

ALLERGENS

  • Pets
     
    • Keep pets out of the main living areas and bedrooms
    • Avoid furry and feathered pets and products (pillows comforters)
    • Use a vacuum cleaner with integral HEPA filter
    • Remove pet from home, if necessary

     
  • Pests
     
    • Maintain your home to prevent pests
    • Do not leave food or garbage exposed
    • Seal cracks in plaster or floors

     
  • Dust Mites
     
    • Encase mattress, pillow and box springs in allergen-impermeable cover
    • Reduce clutter
    • Clean and dust weekly
    • Replace carpets with linoleum or wood
    • Wash bed linens weekly in hot water
    • Minimize upholstered furniture
    • Replace blinds with shades or washable curtains
    • Hot wash or freeze soft toys periodically

     
  • Molds
     
    • Repair leaks and clean moldy surfaces
    • Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50%
    • Avoid carpeting on cement floors
    • Use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans
    • Avoid handling wet leaves, compost piles, wet newspapers, garden debris or soil

     
  • Pollens
     
    • Monitor the pollen count
    • Stay indoors with windows closed on peak pollen days and on windy days during pollen season

IRRITANTS

  • Smoke
     
    • Quit smoking
    • Do not allow smoking in your house or car
    • Do not use wood burning stoves, fireplace or fire pits

     
  • Outdoor Irritants
     
    • Use car and home air conditioners especially on ozone action days
    • Avoid parking structures and underground parking lots

     
  • Indoor Irritants
     
    • Vent cooking fumes
    • Remove scented candles and potpourri

RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS

  • Get a flu vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine if needed
  • Avoid crowds during cold and flu season
  • Avoid people who are already sick
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet

EXERCISE

  • Avoid exercise if asthma symptoms are present
  • Pre-medicate per your doctors instructions
  • Warm up before exercise and cool down following exercise
  • Breathe through your nose if possible to warm the air
  • Exercise regularly

WEATHER

  • Monitor the weather for the forecast and pollen count
  • Limit exertion in the cold
  • Wear a scarf or mask over your nose and mouth when outside in very cold weather

STRESS

  • Be aware of when you are affected by situations that are stressful and remove yourself if possible
  • Learn ways to cope with stress

Always remember to keep your rescue inhaler with you at all times and to take all of your asthma medications as prescribed by your doctor. More helpful information about asthma Link Opens in a New Window.

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