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Avoid springtime allergens to reduce symptoms of asthma
When Spring arrives, for 40 to 50 million Americans, so do their allergies. Allergic diseases, such as allergic asthma, affect more than 20% of the population, and are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States.
Allergic asthma is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes. The muscles of the bronchial walls tighten and extra mucus is produced, causing the airways to narrow. The result could range from a frequent tendency for cough, to minor and severe difficulty in breathing. In some cases, breathing may be so labored that an asthma attack becomes life threatening.
“Allergic asthma is the most common form of asthma,” said Sheldon L. Spector, MD, FAAAAI, and Chair of the AAAAI’s Asthma Diagnosis Committee. “Asthma is considered allergic when symptoms become more intense, perhaps resulting in an asthma attack, when the individual is exposed to allergens to which their immune system is sensitive.“
About 60% of asthma attacks are caused by allergens, such as forest fire smoke, pollen and animal dander. Other allergens, such as dust mites, mold and cockroaches, can also trigger a reaction.
Tips to reduce attacks caused by allergens:
- Watch for ozone alerts. These alerts will keep you aware of the potential triggers for the day.
- Minimize outdoor activity on days when temperatures are excessively high.
- Take medications as prescribed in the recommended dosage. Do not take more medication to ease severe symptoms without consulting your doctor.
- Use an air purifier in your home to keep your indoor air clean.
- Do not stand directly behind cars that are running. Exhaust fumes could trigger an asthma attack.