Today, 9/12/2018, Dr. Oz shares a lot of medical information and good advice if you are one of the 26 million Americans who suffer from the debilitating medical condition known as “Asthma.” Many environmental triggers along with stress can cause an attack.
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung airways that causes chest tightness, coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath. Asthma conditions can be worsened by extremely dry, wet, or windy weather conditions. In order to decrease your asthma attacks and doctor’s visits, it’s important to know which factors may cause a wheezing episode.
Here are 10 common asthma triggers to avoid:
- Tobacco Smoke. When you were diagnosed with asthma, your doctor probably told you that tobacco smoke is horrible for people with asthma.
- Chemicals in Your Environment. Irritants could include latex gloves, medications you might work with, cleaning products, and chemicals in the air, according to the American Academy of Allergy & Immunology.
- Dust Mites. To help reduce exposure to dust mites and prevent attacks, use mattress covers and pillowcase covers to create a barrier between dust mites and yourself. Avoid using down-filled pillows, quilts, or comforters. Remove stuffed animals and clutter from your bedroom and vacuum weekly with a HEPA filter. Wash your bedding weekly in hot water, at about 130°F. You might want to use home air filters and make sure you’re changing them regularly as well.
- Pollen. Grasses, trees, weeds, and plants produce pollens that are inhaled, especially when they’re blowing through the air on windy days. Pollen may cause seasonal allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma. To reduce exposure, keep windows closed during pollen season, especially during the day. Dry clothes in your dryer instead of hanging them out to dry. Avoid being outdoors or at least exercising during peak pollen times when the forecast says the pollen count is high. Wash your hair (or wear a hat outdoors) and remove clothes and shoes after coming in from outside to avoid bringing the pollen inside.
- Outdoor Air Pollution. Pollution from cars (especially in a high-traffic area) and factories can trigger an asthma attack. Keep your car windows up if you’re exposed to air pollution on your commute!
- Cockroaches. Cockroaches and their droppings (cockroach allergens) can trigger an asthma attack. Use roach traps and seal cracks around your home to prevent infestations. Take trash out frequently, clean up crumbs from the counters and floors and avoid leaving food out.
- Pets. Breathing animal allergens can make respiratory symptoms worse in some people with asthma and lead to a decline in the ability of the lungs to function. Your doctor may suggest finding a new home for your pet if he or she thinks the pet is a problem for your asthma and overall health.
- Exercise. Some people experience exercise-induced asthma, also often referred to as bronchoconstriction, which might lead to coughing, wheezing, fatigue, and other symptoms due to the lung airways narrowing during/after strenuous exercise.
- Mold. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep the humidity level low and prevent mold growth, particularly in the basement and make sure you fix water leaks. You should also use an exhaust fan after showering or taking a bath to reduce mold growth in the bathroom.
- Infections. Infections linked to the flu, the common cold, respiratory illnesses, and even sinus infections can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Call your doctor immediately when you feel like you’re coming down with an illness to get an expert take on the severity of your health situation.
The connection between stress and asthma isn’t surprising, really. When you get stressed, your body releases stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Among other effects (like your blood pressure and heart rate going up), you breathe faster and your muscles get tense – even the muscles that surround your airways. Stress also alters the way the immune system works and increases inflammation in the body. All these changes make the airways more sensitive and more likely to clench up, causing an attack. Children with asthma should not be subjected to unnecessary stress in their home.
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