Living with Asthma

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 8:45 AM comments (0)

Asthma SymptomsBreathing isn’t something that many of us ever have to actively think about or struggle with – unless maybe we’ve pushed ourselves too hard in a workout. However, asthma—a common disorder affecting more than 34 million Americans—caused by an inflammation of one’s airways can significantly impact breathing.

There are many different treatment and coping mechanisms available for those who have asthma. Rachel Story, MD, Allergist at NorthShore, provides some brief information about what can be done to help prevent and reduce asthma symptoms:

  • Allergens can trigger asthma.  Many people with asthma have allergies, which can trigger asthma symptoms. Common allergens include house dust mites, animal dander, molds and pollen. Avoiding allergic triggers and treatment of allergies will help your asthma.
  • Irritants can trigger asthma. Smoke, fumes, strong odors, pollution, weather changes and humidity can trigger asthma symptoms.  No one should smoke around you, in your home or your car.  On days of high pollution and humidity staying in an air-conditioned environment can help control your asthma.
  • Viral and bacterial infections such as the common cold and sinusitis will trigger asthma. During the cold and flu season (and all year!) be sure to wash your hands to prevent infections. Also, be sure to get your flu shot in the fall.
  • Asthma has different triggers in different people so individualized therapy is important. Personalized plans for treatment may include:

    o   Identifying allergic and irritant triggers and putting environmental
         controls in place to reduce symptoms
    o   Medications such as a rescue inhaler to improve breathing when you
         have symptoms and (for some people) a daily medication to prevent
         symptoms
    o   An asthma action plan that tells you what to do on a daily basis and
         when you’re having symptoms

What do you do to manage your asthma conditions? Has your asthma improved as a result?

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