Author: Paige Blatchford
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) celebrates National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month every May. May is often the worst month for asthma and allergy sufferers. Here are five tips to help you control your asthma this May and all year long.
Know Your Triggers
A trigger is an item in your surroundings that can cause an asthma attack. Common asthma triggers include pollen, mold, smoke, perfume, stress, exercise and air pollutants, among other things. Keeping a clean house may help you avoid asthma triggers but be careful with household cleaning products. Harsh chemicals in some household cleaners can be asthma triggers. When people know and understand asthma triggers, it’s easier to avoid them. For example, an asthma sufferer may want to close the windows and turn on the air conditioner when the air quality is low.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
People diagnosed with asthma should strive to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can make it more difficult to control asthma symptoms. Excess pounds often make it harder to breathe properly, so finding a healthy way lose weight may make asthma medications more effective. Eating a balanced diet can be a good way to start managing your weight. Amber Pharmacy patients can talk with registered dietitian Megan Hall about developing a nutrition plan.
It’s important to stay active, even if exercise triggers your asthma. Exercise can be a healthy way to lose weight and help you improve lung function. People who exercise regularly tend to have less severe asthma reactions. Swimming and biking are great options to improve fitness. Activities involving shorter bursts of exertion may work better for people with exercise-related triggers. Examples include baseball and volleyball. Yoga is often effective for people with asthma because it allows you to stay calm and focus on your breathing while getting a good workout.
Proper warm up and cool down exercises may help avoid an asthma attack. When exercising, breathe through your nose to warm the air and reduce the chance of an asthma episode. You may want to exercise indoors when it’s cold outside or if the pollen count is high. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program or if your asthma prevents you from exercising. Your doctor may recommend taking asthma medication before starting a workout.
Reducing the stress in your life can help you avoid an asthma attack. Stress is a regular part of life. It’s important to try and cut out unnecessary stressors. If you can’t eliminate stress, get help managing it. Stress is linked to worsening asthma, and worsening asthma is linked to additional stress. It’s easy to fall into a continuous cycle of stress and asthma. Instead, try focusing on what makes you feel good and helps you stay calm. Practice breathing exercises, yoga, listening to music and other relaxation techniques.
Develop an Asthma Management Plan
Asthma affects people differently. One way to get your asthma under control is to understand it. Take note of your triggers and flare-ups and work with your doctor to create an asthma management plan. Asthma management plans are also called asthma action plans. These plans help you understand daily asthma treatments and prevent asthma emergencies. In the event of an asthma emergency, an action plan will help you know how to respond.
Since asthma is common among children, an asthma awareness plan can help them understand their condition at a young age. It’s also important information share with your child’s teachers, coaches and caregivers.
National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month
This National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month, take steps to get your asthma under control. With allergens out in full force, May is a great time talk about how asthma affects your life and share your tips on how to manage it. For more information about asthma and the 2018 National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month, visit the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) website.
About the Author
Paige Blatchford, PharmD is a Clinical Pharmacist with the Infectious Disease/Respiratory Center of Excellence. She started working at Amber Pharmacy in 2014 as a pharmacy intern. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Health Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Paige earned her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from the University of Nebraska-Medical Center. Her favorite part of working at Amber Pharmacy is being on the forefront of healthcare, educating patients on the newest medications. Amber Pharmacy’s expertise in specialty pharmacy and compassion for patients allows Paige to build genuine relationships with her patients, which is one reason she loves her job.
Outside of the office, Paige likes being active, traveling, working on “Pinterest projects” and capturing the memories with her camera. She and her high school sweetheart have been married for five years and they have two beautiful cats.