After the long, hard winter, many people look forward to blooming plants, birds chirping, and rising temperatures. However, for someone with asthma and allergies, the pollen that is associated with spring can take a toll on well-being. Seasonal pollen that is associated with the spring months can result in airway inflammation and worsening asthma. Pollen blows as far as 50 miles, so you don’t have to be right next to a flower garden to suffer the effects. Find out how to control asthma during the spring months, so you don’t have to worry about sneezing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. -About Asthma Triggers
Asthma is triggered by many different substances, whether it be a chemical, a medication, or an outdoor allergen. The best way to ward off asthma flare-ups (exacerbations) is to understand these triggers, and in the future, avoid them. Air fresheners – While having things smell nice is pleasant, air fresheners could bring on an asthma attack. Many of these products use aerosol, and it triggers wheezing and coughing. Look for ones that have the green paint logos, as these have low to zero volatile organic compounds and other chemicals that lead to airway irritation. Avoid certain fruits – Oral allergy syndrome is when the body mistakes certain natural chemicals in fruits for pollens, and this causes flare-ups of asthma. Symptoms could be as simple as a scratchy throat or itchy mouth, or they could be severe. Check with your specialist before ingesting peaches, bananas, or pears, as they could worsen your asthma symptoms. Pass on OTC medicines – Certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and aspirin can lead to asthma attacks. As many as 5 percent of people with asthma have what is known as “aspirin-sensitive” asthma, which means these OTC products can trigger a serious flare-up.
If you’re like most people with asthma, you may sometimes experience symptoms — coughing, wheezing and tightness in your chest — during or after exercising. But that’s no excuse not to work out . You just need to be prepared and know your limits.
“If your asthma is under good control, you can and should exercise normally. Exercising [when you have] asthma can help reduce your symptoms, improve your breathing, and reduce your stress and anxiety,” says Rachel Taliercio, DO, a lung and allergy specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.
“Many people with asthma assume that exercise is bad for them. That causes them to get out of shape, and that’s bad for asthma,” says Dr. Taliercio. A review of 19 studies (involving 695 people) on exercises for asthma was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2013. The review found that exercise for asthma is safe, improves heart and lung fitness, and enhances quality of life. The author’s conclusion is that people with asthma should be encouraged to exercise without worrying that their symptoms will get worse. -Exercising Safely
Having asthma means your lungs are more sensitive to things like cold air, dry air, pollen, and pollution. When you’re not exercising, you probably breathe through your nose. Breathing through your nose moistens, warms, and filters the air you breathe before it gets into your lungs. But while working out, you probably breathe through your mouth. That can be tough on your lungs and can trigger asthma symptoms. -Best Exercises for Asthma -Swimming is one of the best exercises for asthma because it builds up the muscles you use for breathing. It also exposes your lungs to lots of warm, moist air, which is less likely to trigger asthma symptoms. -Yoga is another good exercise for asthma. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that yoga training over 10 weeks significantly improved quality of life scores for women with mild to moderate asthma . “A low intensity, beginner yoga class is a great way to start up your exercise program,” says Taliercio.
Team sports that have some breaks in the action are usually fine, too. These can include:
No matter what type of asthma you have, an important step in managing your asthma is to find out if your asthma is under control. Uncontrolled asthma symptoms can have a bigger impact than you may realize. And if you have had a recent asthma attack, this may mean you are more likely to have another one.
Your asthma may not be under control if one or more of the following are true for you. Do you:
-Have symptoms more than 2 days a week?
-Limit or avoid daily activities?
-Wake up at night because of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath?
-Use your rescue inhaler more than 2 times a week?
-Have peak flow or FEV1 readings below your personal best?
-Need emergency medical care due to asthma symptoms more than once a year?
If you think you may have uncontrolled asthma, it’s important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
People who have spring allergies and asthma often enjoy a short respite during the cold months when symptoms abate and they can breathe easy, or easier, at least. As the weather begins to warm and trees begin to bloom and sprout leaves, though, things change. Before you know it, you’re sneezing, wheezing and coughing once again. Spring allergies have just begun.
Some allergies and asthma produce problems year round, because they are triggered by substances found in the everyday living environment. You may find that your symptoms get worse every spring. Some people, though, are lucky enough to have more seasonal allergies and asthma. Spring allergies are sometimes called “hayfever,” although they aren’t caused by hay and don’t result in a fever. They are, however, usually the outdoor type of allergies, meaning that the triggers are commonly found outdoors, rather than indoors. Common symptoms of spring allergies can include: -Sneezing
Asthma is a chronic breathing disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing. Some causes and triggers are common to all people with asthma, and some are more individual. Although the fundamental causes of asthma are not completely understood, the strongest risk factors for developing asthma are inhaled asthma triggers. These include: -indoor allergens (for example house dust mites in bedding, carpets and stuffed furniture, pollution and pet dander);
–outdoor allergens (such as pollens and moulds); -tobacco smoke; and -chemical irritants in the workplace. Other triggers can include cold air, extreme emotional arousal such as anger or fear, and physical exercise. In some people, asthma can even be triggered by certain medications, such as aspirin and other non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, and beta-blockers (which are used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions and migraine). Urbanization has also been associated with an increase in asthma, however the exact nature of this relationship is unclear.
With all the new findings on alternative medicine and natural remedies, you may ask if there’s a cure for asthma.
Unfortunately there is no single identifiable cause for asthma. Increasingly there is the view that asthma is more realistically viewed as a group of symptoms which are common to several underlying conditions. Consequently finding a ‘cure’ is more like trying to put together a large jigsaw puzzle without any idea of what the final picture is. Each research group is contributing to adding a small piece of the jigsaw puzzle. A way to prevent asthma from developing is as important as finding a cure; it is far better to stop young lungs being damaged by asthma than it is try to treat the damage once it has occurred. We know that there are certain risk factors associated with asthma and there are also some things that seem to provide a protective effect. So gradually parts of the jigsaw are being put together.
It may seem reasonable to expect that because of the amount of research being conducted into asthma that ‘breakthroughs’ would occur quite frequently. Because of the breadth and complexity of the research this is unfortunately not the case.
Asthma is an eminently controllable illness. Indeed, for most sufferers, control is so effective that it amounts to a virtual cure. But asthma is not curable in the same way as, say, a bacterial pneumonia; it never entirely goes away. Also, no one cure would ever suffice. It is becoming increasingly clear that there many types of asthma–and they differ greatly in their presentation and genesis. For example, asthma that presents as a chronic cough, the “cough variant of asthma,” appears to be very different from the life-threatening variety, which results in extreme respiratory failure and sometimes death. Nevertheless, the sine qua non of asthma–as we understand it today–is the increased sensitivity of the airways to many different agents. These agents include respiratory viruses (common cold virus), pollutants (ozone and cigarette smoke), airborne allergens (animal dander, pollens and molds) and exercise, especially in a cold and dry environment. These agents, called triggers, induce an inflammatory reaction in the airways that, in turn, results in the common symptoms of cough, wheezing, increased mucus production and shortness of breath. Successful control of asthma entails controlling the inflammation in the airways and reversing the symptoms before they get out of hand.