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What Triggers Asthma Attacks?


One question many people with asthma ask frequently is “What triggers an asthma attack and how can I prevent it?” Research has shown that there are many things that can trigger an asthma attack, but below are some of the more common ones.

• Pollens and outdoor molds - These are likely to trigger an asthma attack. In order to minimize the risk, use air conditioning if possible. Pollen counts are the highest during midday and afternoon, so try to stay indoors during these times. Stay away from things such as wet leaves or other garden material that may harbor mold and keep windows closed during seasons when pollen and molds are the highest, such as spring.

• House dust mites - Rather than using chemicals to kill dust mites, cover the mattresses and pillows with a breathable cover. You may also want to consider removing carpeting from your bedroom. You should wash your bed covers in hot water every week and the humidity in your house should be less than 50%.. Do not use a vacuum cleaner or be in a room when it is being vacuumed. However, if this is not possible then use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, and wear a dust mask over your nose when you vacuum.

• Animal dander – The surest advice is to find another home for your pets, however for most of us; our pets are considered family members. At the very least keep all pets out of your bedroom.

• Cockroaches - The very thought of these bugs sends a shiver up many spines, and they may cause an asthma attack. The most effective method is to use an insect spray to remove cockroaches from your home. The spray itself may me cause for concern to asthmatics, so someone else should spray your home when you are not at home. Open the windows to air out your home for a few hours after spraying. As a less effective but easier alternative, you may want to use roach traps.

• Indoor molds - Keep bathrooms, kitchens, and basements clean and well-aired. If you have a damp basement, use a dehumidifier. As mentioned previously, be sure to set the humidity level for less than 50% (but above 25%.) Be sure to empty and clean the dehumidifier often.

• Smoke - Smoke from a wood-burning stove or a wood-burning fireplace may cause you to have breathing problems. If you are a smoker, QUIT ! Smoking will cancel out all the good that your medicines do, and all the work you do, to control your asthma.

• Colds and infections - Stay away from people who have colds or the flu in order to lessen the chance of getting sick. Talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot.

• Other tips - Replace or cover your pillows or mattress with bedding labeled "nonallergenic" and made of "urethane" or foam rubber. Decrease the amount of dust in your home and have the air ducts and vents in your house cleaned.

If after following these tips you still do not know what causes your asthma attacks, you should keep a journal of information about your asthma. Write down the time of your attack as well as what is around you when you start to have breathing problems. After a month or so, review your journal and see if you notice a pattern emerging, If you still have no idea what is triggering your asthma attacks, you and your doctor may want discuss having allergy testing performed.


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