The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming … and pollen is filling the air.
While springtime is a season of rejuvenation, it also brings about a spike in asthma attacks, especially when pollen counts reach high levels.
Cause of Springtime Asthma Attacks
When flowers, weeds, trees, grass and other plants bloom in springtime, they release pollen into the air. Seasonal pollen can result in airway inflammation, which worsens underlying asthma conditions.
Ways to Prevent an Asthma Attack
The best way to keep asthma under control is by taking your asthma medications as prescribed by your doctor.
If you have asthma, you are likely familiar with an inhaler. Your doctor may also prescribe quick-relief medicine for flare-ups. Always make sure your asthma medications are on-hand and that they are filled before they run out.
For asthma sufferers who exercise outside, your doctor may recommend taking an antihistamine (like Claritin or Zyrtec) and/or two puffs from a short-acting emergency inhaler prior to outdoor activity.
Immunotherapy shots are another option suitable for some patients. Administered regularly over a period of time, immunotherapy shots can reduce the body’s reaction to allergens.
Here are additional tips to help control your asthma during spring:
- Get tested for allergies. According to a study published in the journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, nearly two-thirds of people with asthma also suffer from allergies. An allergy test can help you learn the triggers you should avoid.
- Stay indoors in the morning. If possible, avoid the outdoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. when pollen levels are at their highest. Check the pollen count in your area daily.
- Wash off the pollen. Shower and wash your clothes after being outside. Pollen sticks to your body and can be transferred to household surfaces.
- Shut the windows. Keep your home and car windows closed. It’s better to use air conditioning instead. In your car, set the air flow to recirculate so outside air isn’t introduced.
- Avoid outside chores. If you can, get someone else to do your yard work and gardening. If you must do it yourself, wear a mask. Also, keep your grass short or opt for ground cover that doesn’t produce much pollen such as Irish moss.
- Use the dryer. Dry your sheets and clothes indoors rather than on an outdoor clothesline.
The doctors at PCCMA evaluate and treat asthma, as well as other breathing problems. If you are concerned about asthma or are experiencing symptoms, schedule an appointment.