How to Manage Your Asthma in the Spring
For many, springtime signals a long-awaited period of relief after being stuck indoors during the frigid winter months… a time to finally get outside and get a breath of fresh air. But as the world around us springs back to life and flowers begin to bloom, for many people just being outside can be irritating with allergens floating through the air.
For people with asthma, this time of year can be particularly hazardous.
Why is spring so hard for asthma patients?
Because the airways in the lungs of asthma patients are often inflamed or swollen, they’re especially susceptible to certain triggers. According to the American Lung Association, some of these asthma triggers can include springtime pollen, smoke, air pollution, pet dander and even cold air. When allergens such as pollen are inhaled, they cause the airways to tighten even more, making it very difficult to breathe and triggering an asthma attack.
Thankfully, asthma patients can take certain measures to reduce environmental triggers and make springtime more bearable.
Limit your time outdoors.
Although the warmer weather is certainly inviting, spending more time outside than necessary can only make things worse for your asthma. On days when environmental triggers are at high levels, keep your time outside at a minimum. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go outside at all — just don’t be outside more than you absolutely need to be.
Take your medication.
This may sound like a no-brainer but taking your asthma medication as prescribed by your doctor is the first step in minimizing the effects of allergens. Recently diagnosed patients should become familiar with their inhalers and how they work. Also, check with your doctor before using any allergy medication and ask if any other medicines may be effective.
Set up alerts.
Many weather apps for your smartphone also include information about allergen triggers such as pollen count and ozone levels. Install a weather app and set up alerts on your phone that will let you know what the air quality will be like for the day as soon as you wake up.
Of course, you should also take proactive measures to minimize environmental triggers that may make their way in otherwise safe areas. Use air conditioners or air purifiers in your home, office or car to ensure you’re breathing clean air. Remove any potential triggers from your home such as plants or flowers.
Finally, whenever you come into your home, be sure to wash your clothes and your hair as they may have picked up some allergens from the air and could potentially trigger your asthma even while indoors. You may also consider clearing your nasal passages with a Neti pot or a similar nasal irrigation tool.
Need further consultation?
Dr. Elie Chbeir specializes in pulmonology and sees patients from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rushville Outpatient Specialty Clinic, 238 S. Congress St. To schedule an appointment with him, call (217) 357-8500. If you have other medical concerns and need to see a provider, our team is here to help. Contact us and schedule a general appointment today.