4 tips to prevent asthma attacks

4 tips to prevent asthma attacks

After enduring one of the worst winters in decades, many are looking forward to spring. People  are anxious to take walks in the park, watch the flowers bloom or just comfortably sit outdoors. However, for those with asthma there are concerns when spring arrives.

With nearly one in 12 people in the U.S. having asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, spring conditions come with silent triggers for those that suffer from the common condition. Something as simple as pollen in the air from blooming flowers or warmer temperatures can result in an asthma attack.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asthma is a disease that causes the airways of the lungs to tighten and swell. An asthma attack happens when the lungs aren’t getting enough air to breathe and usually start with coughing or wheezing.

Dr. Kimberly Watts, pediatric pulmonologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., suggests having an asthma action plan in place to quickly address an asthma attack. 

Dr. Watts suggests the following four tips to prepare you for the onset of an asthma attack:

  1. Know your triggers. Triggers are things that can cause asthma symptoms. Indoor/ outdoor allergens, illness, smoke, outdoor pests or activity can all be triggers for those who suffer from asthma. It’s best to know your personal triggers and adjust your environment accordingly.
  2. Ensure that an everyday maintenance asthma medication is taken. An oral inhaler or albuterol helps prevent and treat wheezing and shortness of breath, should be taken daily so the need for a rescue inhaler is reduced.
  3. Asthma pump inhalers should always be used with a spacer. A spacer, or aerosol holding chamber ensures that the inhaler medication is being delivered directly to the lungs and not just going into the mouth or throat.
  4. Have an emergency contact in place in case an asthma attack happens. Informing co-workers, caregivers, teachers and those around you on a regular basis of your asthma condition is best. In case of an emergency they can speak to your condition.

If you suffer from asthma, be sure to speak to your physician about options that may help reduce the onset of an asthma attack.

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  1. Adrien Bledstein April 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm · Reply

    Four excellent points. From experience I would add to # 1: Wearing an appropriate mask to reduce exposure to airborne triggers is an effective way to control one’s environment. For “How to choose a mask” see http://icanbreathe.com/choosing.htm .

  2. Regarding #2 above – my understanding is that Albuterol is the Rescue Inhaler that treats wheezing & shortness of breath, but should be taken when symptoms begin to arise or right before physical activity. Is that not correct? I thought the everyday maintenance medication was an inhaled steroid, such as Flovent?

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.