WHAT TRIGGERS A DEADLY ASTHMA ATTACK?

One in 12 Americans have asthma, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re one of them – or if a family member is – you should be doing all you can to avoid the things that can trigger an asthma attack. Triggers vary from person to person, but keep clicking to see eight common ones…
-Tobacco smoke. People with asthma shouldn’t smoke, obviously. In addition, they should avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
-Dust mites. Dust mites are in just about everyone’s home, and they can cause big trouble for asthmatics. To reduce exposure to the mites, use mattress and pillowcase covers. Don’t use down-filled pillows, quilts, or comforters. And remove stuffed animals and clutter from bedrooms.
-Air pollution. Car exhaust, industrial pollutants, and other things that foul the air outside can trigger asthma attacks. So pay attention to air quality forecasts.
-Cockroaches. To limit exposure to asthma attack-causing roaches and their dander, keep your home scrupulously free of crumbs and other food sources.
-Pets. Furry pets can cause big problems for asthma sufferers. Best to find them a new home. If that’s not in the cards, the animal should at least be regularly bathed and trimmed – and kept out of the asthmatic’s bedroom. Frequent vacuuming and damp-mopping can help too.
-Mold. To keep airborne mold particles to a minimum, keep humidity in the home between 35 and 50 percent (in hot, humid climates, an air conditioner or dehumidifier might be necessary). Fix water leaks. They can promote the growth of mold behind walls and under floors.
-Infections. Flu, colds, and other respiratory infections can trigger an attack.
-Exercise. Strenuous physical exercise might be good for your heart and waistline – but not so good for your breathing.






ASTHMA ATTACK

During an asthma attack, also called an asthma exacerbation, your airways become swollen and inflamed. The muscles around the airways contract, causing your breathing (bronchial) tubes to narrow.
During an asthma attack, you may cough, wheeze and have trouble breathing. An asthma attack may be minor, with symptoms that get better with prompt home treatment, or it may be more serious. A severe asthma attack that doesn’t improve with home treatment can become a life-threatening emergency.
The key to stopping an asthma attack is recognizing and treating an asthma flare-up early. Follow the treatment plan you worked out with your doctor ahead of time. This plan should include what to do when your asthma starts getting worse, and how to deal with an asthma attack in progress.
When to seek emergency medical treatment?
Seek medical attention right away if you have signs or symptoms of a serious asthma attack, which include:
-Severe breathlessness or wheezing, especially at night or in the early morning
-The inability to speak more than short phrases due to shortness of breath
-Having to strain your chest muscles to breathe
-Low peak flow readings when you use a peak flow meter






Asthma, Allergies and Winter Holidays

With the arrival of winter, seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma sufferers can breathe relief as most outdoor allergens disappear until spring. But holiday gatherings and spending more time indoors exposes many people to different allergen triggers.
Food Allergies During the Holidays
Food plays a central role in many events. If you have a food allergy, these functions can be difficult to navigate. Be sure to ask about the ingredients used to make each dish. Be aware that cross-contamination can occur during preparation. If you think the foods served pose too much risk, or if you just don’t feel comfortable eating foods provided by others, you don’t have to.
Other Holiday Triggers
Holiday decorations, travel and stress can all present challenges for people with allergies and asthma. Here are some of the most common triggers to be on the lookout for:
-Does your Christmas tree make you sneeze or cause shortness of breath? It’s unlikely that you are allergic to the tree itself, but the fragrance may be irritating. Some trees may also be home to microscopic mold spores that trigger asthma or allergies, causing symptoms like sneezing or an itchy nose. .
-Follow directions carefully when spraying artificial snow or flocking. Inhaling these sprays can irritate your lungs and trigger asthma symptoms.
-If you leave your pet behind when traveling for the holidays, you may experience allergy or asthma symptoms on your return home.