Do you have asthma? You’ve probably noticed certain things set off an attack or make attacks worse. Also, certain times of the year can be more challenging than others.
Many things can trigger your asthma. Here’s what the asthma specialists at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, LLC want you to know about this condition and five of the most common triggers.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a very common and chronic lifelong respiratory condition. When you have an asthma attack, your airways suddenly become inflamed and it’s difficult to take in enough air to breathe properly. Your body may also produce excess mucus, adding to your breathing difficulties. It’s scary, to say the least! Asthma attacks can lead to long-term health consequences and even premature death.
That’s why it’s important to follow through with your preventive asthma treatments and have an emergency plan in place. You also need to avoid your asthma triggers as much as possible.
5 common asthma triggers
Here are five of the most common asthma triggers and tips for reducing your risk of an attack.
1. Allergens like dust and mold
Dust and mold are allergens that may bring on an attack or make your asthma worse. This is because allergens can aggravate and inflame your airways.
Limit dust in your home by removing carpets, cleaning often, and using an air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Reduce mold in your home by fixing leaky faucets, keeping humidity levels low, and cleaning any mold off of walls and other surfaces using a scrub brush and detergent.
2. Pet dander
Some people love animals but can’t have pets because they have severe allergies or asthma. Pet dander is known to aggravate allergies and asthma.
If you have asthma and live with cats or dogs, be sure to bathe them regularly, vacuum often, and keep the rest of the floors and furniture clean, too. Also, it’s a bad idea to let your pets sleep with you.
3. Perfumes and sprays
If you’re out in public, you never know when you may come into contact with someone wearing a heavy dose of perfume, cologne, or body spray. This can immediately set off an asthma attack. You may be able to tolerate certain perfumes, colognes, and body sprays, or none at all, depending on the severity of your reaction to them.
At home, you can use fragrance-free laundry detergent and natural cleaning products to reduce your chance of having an asthma attack. When you’re out and at risk of coming into contact with these triggers, keep your fast-acting rescue medication handy.
4. Upper respiratory infections
The flu and COVID-19 are of concern for people living with asthma. These conditions can be serious on their own, but even more so in people with asthma. Bacterial or viral infections may trigger asthma attacks by causing the airways to become inflamed and more narrow, making it harder to breathe.
You never know who may be sick or who has been exposed to the flu or coronavirus. Take precautions when out in public to protect yourself. Wear a mask, wash your hands often, and stay at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you.
5. Physical activity
Staying active and fit is great for your overall health and longevity. But if you have asthma, you have to be careful not to overdo it. Especially if you exercise outdoors during cooler weather, you could be setting yourself up for an asthma attack. Even staying indoors on a treadmill or bike could trigger an asthma attack.
You can maintain your physical activity if you know your limits so you don’t overexert yourself. You also need to be aware of the other asthma risk factors you're encountering when exercising outdoors, like pollen and other environmental allergens.
If you think you have asthma, or if you need help managing it, make an appointment with one of the caring doctors at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, LLC. Use our convenient online request tool, or call 860-288-1160 today.