Tips for Coping With Seasonal Asthma Symptoms
Seasonal asthma doesn’t always announce itself with a timely warning. You may find yourself unprepared when asthma catches up with you and literally takes your breath away.
Maybe you have been affected by seasonal asthma before, or maybe you have only recently become afflicted, but being unable to breathe is one of the most alarming and unsettling experiences you can face.
Asthma and the Seasons
Each season contributes their share of asthma irritants. Spring brings the onset of beautiful weather, but also brings pollen; tree pollen comes about in early spring and a couple months later, grass pollen season kicks in.
In summer, humid air from heat waves trap pollutants in the air, making them become more concentrated, and there is generally poorer air quality due to things like traffic and smoke from forest fires. Ragweed allergies flare up at the end of summer and into autumn as well.
In fall, respiratory tract infections aggravate the chronic lung inflammation in asthmatics, making a cold or flu more severe, last for a longer duration and instill other respiratory problems.
The cold, dry winter air can also cause asthma flare-ups. Keeping the house warm when it is cold outside also contributes to indoor allergens, like dust mites, mold and smoke (from wood-burning stoves or fireplaces).
The number of ways seasonal asthma can get you may seem daunting, but there are ways that you can take care of yourself to keep your symptoms in line, including medication and prevention.
1. Take Medication
Anyone who has experienced asthma likely has tried some form of inhaler, bronchodilators or anti-inflammatories. Bronchodilators are a quick-relief medication that open up the airways for ease of breathing. This can be a preventative action if you know that you experience symptoms brought on by exercise. Short-term medication like this is a useful thing to keep on hand if you suffer from seasonal asthma; if you start to feel a flare-up, use your puffer to keep it from becoming a full-symptom attack. Long-term medications are taken daily for people who suffer from symptoms on a more constant basis.
2. Talk to Your Doctor About a Treatment and Asthma Attack Plan
The best thing you can do is stay on top of your condition; talk to your physician, specialist or allergist to help inform yourself about the severity, treatments and triggers for your asthma.
You’ll be able to identify when it will be a minor episode (easily managed) or if your symptoms are worse. It will be a benefit to your health care providers if you can articulate how your symptoms change. Always be self-aware.
3. Avoid Your Triggers
The obvious advice on the best way to manage your symptoms is to take measures to avoid your asthma triggers. This isn’t always easy or reasonable, especially if you are an avid lover of the outdoors. Asthma requires continuous management to minimize the severity of episodes. You will want to keep short-term medication on hand for the prevention and control of your symptoms.
4. Tell Your Family and Friends About Your Asthma
Communicate your condition with family and friends. It can be a little difficult for some people to breach this subject, but it is important for others to be aware of the condition and how they can help you when the symptoms occur.
Remember, nobody chooses to have asthma, so don’t be embarrassed or consider this a weakness; talking about your condition shows your strength.
5. Take an Allergy Test
Take an allergy test to determine what your triggers are. Rather than attempt to guess, this will give you a much better starting point to avoid what bothers you.
Keep in mind that asthma is not a constant issue. Your symptoms — and their severity — are prone to change. Be sure to communicate these issues to your physician, so your medication can be kept up-to-date and will be able to handle your symptoms.
6. Bundle Up in the Colder Months
In winter, wear a scarf around your face if cold, dry air is one of your triggers. Get an annual flu shot, as any prevention you can take against cold and flu season will help avoid respiratory distress caused by another virus.
Be sure to apply the above tips in your life to manage your condition. By actively taking control of your seasonal asthma, you won’t have to face your next attack unprepared, or you may avoid it altogether.