If you have asthma, you need to do what you can to reduce your exposure to asthma triggers. Asthma triggers can aggravate your asthma symptoms -- coughing, wheezing, and difficulty catching your breath. While there’s no asthma cure, there are steps you can take to keep your asthma in control and prevent an asthma attack(worsening of asthma symptoms).
Since most asthma attacks in children are caused by an allergic reaction, there's a lot that parents
can do to prevent or reduce asthma symptoms by limiting their child's exposure to allergens. Here are four major steps:
1. Limit dust exposure. Babies and toddlers spend eight to ten hours a day in their rooms, so removing dust from their immediate area is a great place to start. Here's how to cut down on the dust in your child's room.
Remove carpets and heavy drapesWash all bedding and stuffed animals frequently in hot waterPurchase allergen-barrier coverings for the pillows and mattresses
2. Protect your child from tobacco smoke. This is a significant asthma trigger. Some people think that smoking in a different room or outside is safe enough, but tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothes, and your child then inhales it when you pick him up and snuggle with him. Having everyone in your household quit is the best option. If that's not possible, have smokers wear different shirts and cover their hair when they smoke.
3. Reduce or eliminate the pet factor. Many kids are allergic to pet dander. It's best not to keep a pet at home if it triggers your child's reactions. If that's not possible, at least keep the cat or dog out of the baby's room.
4. Kill those roaches. Even the cleanest homes can have problems with cockroaches. This is a common allergen for urban children with asthma, and parents should do all they can to eliminate cockroaches from their homes. This includes frequently taking out the trash and not leaving pet food sitting out. Also, seal up any openings where cockroaches could enter -- including leaky pipes.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.
Identify Triggers for Asthma PreventionAllergies and Asthma PreventionAllergy-Proof Your Environment for Asthma PreventionGet a Flu Vaccine for Asthma PreventionConsider Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy) for Asthma Prevention
Identify Triggers for Asthma Prevention
Certain asthma triggers can set off the cascade of asthma symptoms. Some asthma triggers may include:
Air pollutionAllergiesCold airA cold or flu virusSinusitisSmokeFragrances
It’s vital to learn to identify your asthma triggers and take steps to avoid them.
Keep track of your asthma symptoms in an asthma diary for several weeks, detailing all the environmental and emotional factors that are associated with your asthma. When you have an asthma attack, go back to your asthma diary to see which factor, or combination of factors, might have contributed to it. Some common asthma triggers are not always obvious, such as molds and cockroaches. Ask your asthma specialist about allergyskin testing -- or specific IgE testing -- to determine the allergens to which you have become sensitized. You can then take measures to minimize your exposure to those allergens.
If you have exercise-induced asthma or are planning vigorous exercise or exercise in cold, humid, or dry environments, prevent exercise-induced asthma by following your doctor's advice regarding asthma treatment (usually by using an asthma inhaler containing the drug albuterol.
If your doctor finds that you have allergies, allergy shots (immunotherapy) may help prevent allergy symptoms and worsening of asthma. With allergy shots, small doses of allergens are injected under your skin on a regular schedule. Over a period of time, your body may become accustomed to the allergen and less responsive to it upon exposure. This can help prevent a worsening of asthma.
If you have allergies and asthma, it’s important to minimize your exposure to allergens (substances to which you are allergic). Allergen exposure can temporarily increase the inflammation of the airways in a person with asthma, making them more susceptible to an asthma attack. Avoiding or minimizing contact with the allergen can help prevent an asthma attack.
Avoid Smoke to Prevent Asthma
Smoke and asthma are a bad mix. Minimize exposure to all sources of smoke, including tobacco, incense, candles, fires, and fireworks. Do not allow smoking in your home or car, and avoid public places that permit smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, get help to quit successfully. Smoking always makes asthma worse.
Avoid Colds to Prevent Asthma
Do what you can to stay well. Avoid close contact with people who have a cold or the flu, because your asthma symptoms may worsen if you catch the infection from them. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching items that may have been handled by others with a respiratory infection.
Whether you’re at home, work, or traveling, there are specific measures you can take to allergy-proof your environment and reduce the risk of having asthma. For example, avoid eating in restaurants that are smoky or allow cigarette smoking. Call ahead when traveling and ask for a smoke-free hotel room. And bring your own bedding and pillows in case the hotel only supplies feather pillows and down comforters, which may harbor dust mites and cause asthmasymptoms.
Get a flu shot every year to protect against the flu virus, which almost always makes asthma much worse for days to weeks. People with asthma are more likely to have complications from the flu, such as pneumonia, and are more likely to be hospitalized because of the flu. Also, those over age 19 should get a pneumonia shot (called Pneumovax) once every five to 10 years. People with asthma are about twice as likely as others to get pneumococcal pneumonia, a common type of bacterial pneumonia.