If Your Asthma Symptoms Are Caused By Allergies Take Steps To Control Knownor Potential Triggers In Your Environment
Allergy-proof your house for dust, mold, cockroaches, and other common indoor allergens to which you are allergic.
Reduce your outdoor activities when the pollen count or ozone level is high.
Choose foods that dont contribute to your asthma or allergy symptoms.
Evaluate your workplace for possible allergens and take the necessary steps to reduce your exposure to them.
In order to determine relevant triggers, you may want to seek consultation with an allergist who can further define these triggers.
In addition, anyone with asthma should consider getting an annual flu shot. Older adults also should talk with their internist about getting a pneumonia vaccination.
What Causes Asthma Symptoms To Flare Up
Your asthma can flare up for different reasons. If youre allergic to dust mites, pollens or molds, they can make your asthma symptoms get worse. Cold air, exercise, fumes from chemicals or perfume, tobacco or wood smoke, and weather changes can also make asthma symptoms worse. So can common colds and sinus infections. Gastroesophageal reflux can also cause flare-ups. You can help yourself by paying attention to the way these things affect your asthma. Your doctor might test you to find out if youre allergic to something. Then your doctor can help you avoid the things that bother your asthma.
Asthma Exacerbations Can Last A Week Or Longer
Patients can also experience worsening of several symptoms at once, Michael Blaiss, MD, from the University of Tennessee at Memphis, told Medscape Medical News.
Dr. Blaiss and his team conducted the Asthma Insight and Management survey to examine the reported duration of episodes with asthma symptoms that were frequent or severe.
The survey is the sequel to the Asthma in America study, which was done more than a decade ago.
Dr. Michael Blaiss
We wanted to know what has happened as far as asthma management in patients since that survey was done. We also added some new questions to get a better idea of how asthma was affecting the adult and adolescent population, Dr. Blaiss explained.
AIM quizzed 2500 asthma patients 12 years and older about duration of episodes with asthma symptoms that were frequent or severe. The participants were interviewed from July to September 2009.
Dr. Blaiss said he found it striking that patients reported a variety of symptoms.
Physicians often think that an asthma flare up will last 1 or 2 days and then be gone, but this survey shows that is not true, he added.
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Inflammation And Your Lungs
A garden-variety cold is caused by any one of over 200 viral strains, the most common of which are rhinoviruses, followed by coronaviruses, influenza viruses, adenoviruses, and respiratory syncytial virus .
When a respiratory infection occurs, the immune system responds by releasing cytokines that draw defensive white blood cells to the site of the infection.
Many of these cytokinesmost especially interleukin types 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, and 13are responsible for triggering airway hyper-responsiveness and bronchoconstriction in people with asthma. In essence, the inflammation caused by a cold can “spill over” to the lower respiratory tract and instigate an attack.
Research also suggests that antigens on certain respiratory viruses can trigger an allergic response in people with asthma. Antigens are the proteins of the surface of cells that the immune system reacts to. In some cases, the antigen will spur allergic inflammation that only adds to the burden of viral inflammation.
Although viral-induced asthma has long been considered separate from allergic asthma, evidence suggests that viral-induced asthma can affect people with allergic and non-allergic forms of the disease, including exercise-induced asthma and eosinophilic asthma.
This dual source of inflammation may explain why certain people are more prone to viral-induced asthma than others.
S Everyone Can Take To Lower The Risk Of Getting And Spreading Covid
- Practice social distancing/self-monitoring/self-isolation/isolation as directed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds.
- Wear a non-medical grade face mask when you are in public places and in situations where you are not able to maintain physical distancing, like on public transportation or the grocery store.
- Avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as toys, phones and door handles.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, ears or mouth.
- Stay home if you are sick. Encourage those you know who are sick to stay home until they no longer have symptoms.
- Avoid contact with people who are unwell.
- Make sure that you get high-quality information about COVID-19 from reliable sources. The Public Health Agency of Canada is a reliable source of information, as are provincial and territorial public health authorities.
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Could Vaporub Increase Mucus Production
Dr. Bruce Rubin is the co-author of a study published in the journal Chest that says some babies or toddlers may experience respiratory distress from using VapoRub under the nose. In a press release, he notes,
âThe ingredients in Vicks can be irritants, causing the body to produce more mucus to protect the airway. And since infants and young children have airways that are much narrower than those of an adult, any increase in mucus or swelling can narrow them severely.â
This study received wide publicity as parents generally use Vicks VapoRub for the use stated on the product labelcough suppression. If the ingredients are producing more mucus, that seems like it would make the situation worse.
The thing to note is that the research findings were made on tissue cultures from ferret tracheas and no testing was done on humans. When they then examined the effects on live ferrets, the difference was not statistically significant. The researchers also commented that the menthol in Vicks fools the brain into perceiving increased airflow while not actually improving breathing.
A critical letter on the study from Dr. Ian M. Paul, a consultant for Proctor & Gamble Company, notes that this symptomatic relief is what the product claims to do and it is welcomed by most users.
New Or Ongoing Symptoms
Some people are experiencing a range of new or ongoing symptoms that can last weeks or months after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Unlike some of the other types of post-COVID conditions that only tend to occur in people who have had severe illness, these symptoms can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if the illness was mild, or if they had no initial symptoms. People commonly report experiencing different combinations of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Change in smell or taste
- Changes in period cycles
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Its Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
It might feel like taking deep breaths of very cold air on a winter day. Your breathing becomes harder and may hurt. You may cough and wheeze. Is this an asthma attack?
If you have asthma, you already know that it makes the airways of your lungs swell and narrow. The wheezing that sometimes you can hear, sometimes only a physician can hear, is when air is trying to squeeze through those little airways, explains Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center. While no one knows for sure what causes asthma, its most likely a combination of inherited and environmental factors.
Medical History And Physical Exam
Your doctor will ask about your risk factors for asthma and your symptoms. They may ask also about any known allergies. This includes how often symptoms occur, what seems to trigger your symptoms, when or where symptoms occur, and if your symptoms wake you up at night.
During the physical exam, your doctor may:
- Listen to your breathing and look for symptoms of asthma
- Look for allergic skin conditions, such as eczema
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Acute Exacerbation Of Asthma
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What happens during an acute exacerbation of asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease. It causes inflammation and narrowing of your airways. This can affect your airflow.
The symptoms of asthma come and go. When symptoms flare up and get progressively worse, it can be called:
- an exacerbation
- an episode
- a flare-up
Your airways become swollen during an acute exacerbation. Your muscles contract and your bronchial tubes narrow. Breathing normally becomes more and more difficult.
Even if youve had exacerbations before and know what to do, its still a good idea to contact your doctor. An acute exacerbation of asthma is serious and can even become life-threatening. Thats why its important to recognize the symptoms early and to take appropriate action.
Its important to develop an asthma plan for how to treat your symptoms. Work with your doctor to come up with a method for what to do when your symptoms flare up.
How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma
It can be hard to tell if someone has asthma, especially in children under age 5. Having a doctor check how well your lungs work and check for allergies can help you find out if you have asthma.
During a checkup, a doctor will ask if you cough a lot, especially at night. He or she will also ask whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or at certain times of year. The doctor will then ask about chest tightness, wheezing, and colds lasting more than 10 days. He or she will ask whether anyone in your family has or has had asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems. Finally, the doctor will ask questions about your home and whether you have missed school or work or have trouble doing certain things.
The doctor may also do a breathing test, called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working by testing how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath before and after you use asthma medicine.
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What Are The Triggers
There are many different triggers for asthma attacks. Many asthmatics are well aware of their trigger points. However, they may not always be able to avoid them.
Pollen and pollution are increasingly responsible for triggering asthma. Many people find a worsening of their symptoms in Spring, combined with the onset of hay fever. There are many species of grasses, trees and weeds in the UK. Some people are particularly sensitive to some and do not react at all to others. There is also huge variation around the country as to when pollen is released. People can begin to suffer from hay fever as early as January. About 20% of people with hay fever are allergic to birch tree pollen and this, as well as oak and plane trees, are responsible for many unpleasant symptoms and can exacerbate asthma.
Grass pollens are the most common cause of hay fever and usually affect people in May, June and July.
Weed pollens usually release pollen from early spring to early autumn.
If you know pollen is a trigger for your asthma, speak to your GP or asthma nurse.
The Met Office issues really useful pollen advice.
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Often people find it particularly difficult to breathe out and have an increase in sticky mucus and phlegm
Its important to note that not everyone will get all of these symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma
While symptoms vary from person to person, the most common signs of mild asthma include:
- difficulty breathing feeling breathless, even while resting, or being unable to finish full sentences before needing to take another breath
- wheezing making a whistling sound while breathing
- coughing either at specific times or after certain activities
During a severe asthma attack, you may notice more serious symptoms, such as:
- feeling very distressed, exhausted or even limp from trying to breathe
- deep sucking motions at the throat or chest while trying to breathe
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Are Corticosteroids Effective Or Ineffective During Virus
Corticosteroids are known to improve asthma symptoms and decrease exacerbations however, virus-induced exacerbations can occur in ICS-treated asthma in patients who are well controlled . Clearly, a component of specific virus-induced inflammation is not controlled by stable ICS therapy. Whether ICS have no effect on virus-induced asthma deterioration is much less clear. In patients using budesonide/formoterol maintenance and either terbutaline, formoterol or formoterol/budesonide as a reliever, the exacerbation rate after the onset of reported cold symptoms was reduced by as-needed budesonide/formoterol compared with as-needed formoterol reliever . Even in that setting, there is potential confounding by an effect of the additional as-needed ICS on residual eosinophilic airway inflammation rather than viral mechanisms.
When the dose of ICS used in asthma is considered, there is no benefit from doubling ICS dose for treatment of exacerbations and this approach is now considered insufficient for the management of asthma . A recent study by Oborneet al. extended this finding and evaluated the efficacy of quadrupling the usual dose of ICS at the first symptoms of a cold however, this approach did not reduce exacerbations in comparison to placebo.
How Do You Monitor Asthma Symptoms
Monitoring your asthma symptoms is an essential piece of managing the disease. Your healthcare provider may have you use a peak flow meter. This device measures how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It can help your provider make adjustments to your medication. It also tells you if your symptoms are getting worse.
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Unproved Alternate Therapy In Status Asthmaticus
Although the application of noninvasive ventilation has proved to be safe and effective in COPD, the use of NIV in severe asthma is not clearly defined. A systematic review found 5 studies with > 200 subjects with severe asthma randomized to NIV or placebo. Two of the studies found no difference in the number of subjects who required intubation and mechanical ventilation , whereas one study demonstrated fewer admissions in the NIV group. NIV should not be attempted in patients who are agitated or uncooperative, and patients should be monitored closely if NIV is attempted. Although retrospective studies are encouraging about the potential benefits of NIV, in our experience, many patients with acute, severe asthma are unable to tolerate NIV.,
Although intravenous aminophylline is not likely to result in any additional bronchodilation when compared with standard care with inhaled bronchodilators and corticosteroids, some patients with near-fatal asthma may gain benefit with intravenous aminophylline. The usual loading dose of 5 mg/kg is given intravenously over 20 min and then infused at a rate of 0.50.7 mg/kg/h. Such patients are rare, and the potential adverse effects are not uncommon . Blood levels should be checked daily for all patients receiving aminophylline infusions.
What Is The Best Way To Live With Asthma
The key to good living with asthma is developing a strong partnership between patients, caregivers, and physicians. Practical steps include the following:
Make an asthma care management plan with your physician. An asthma management plan helps you understand what to do when specific situations arise. Each time you visit the physician, talk about your plan, and make any necessary changes.
Educate yourself. Stay informed about the latest developments in asthma and allergy care and treatment. Ask your physician about new medications or research findings that may relate to your care.
Get regular medical care. If you have asthma, you should see your physician at least once a year, even if your symptoms are under control. When you become sick, or if you have significant changes in your health, you should also talk with your physician about how your asthma could be affected.
Take your medicine. Your asthma medications will make you feel better and sometimes people think thats the time to stop. Its not! Use your medications as prescribed.
With good management, asthma symptoms can be controlled. Most people who develop adult onset asthma are able to lead normal lives. Expect success!
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Blood Oxygen Level Tests
During a severe asthma attack, it may be necessary to check the level of oxygen in your blood. This can be done using a pulse oximeter. A pulse oximeter is a small device thats placed on the end of your finger. The test takes a few seconds to complete and can even be performed at home.
Shop for a pulse oximeter to use at home.
Most of the time, asthma exacerbations can be managed at home or with a visit to your doctor. The asthma plan you developed with your doctor can help you manage your symptoms and acute attacks.
However, acute exacerbations often result in a trip to the emergency room. Emergency treatment may include:
- inhaled beta-2 agonists, such as albuterol
- corticosteroids, such as fluticasone
An acute exacerbation requires close monitoring. Your doctor may repeat diagnostic tests several times. You wont be discharged until your lungs are functioning adequately. If your breathing continues to be labored, you may have to be admitted for a few days until you recover.
You may need to take corticosteroids for several days following the exacerbation. Your doctor may also recommend follow-up care.
Breathing Problems During Exercise
If you have chest tightness, cough, wheeze or shortness of breath during exercise, your doctor may perform extra tests to see if you have a type of asthma called, exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced bronchospasm. For some people, they will only have asthma symptoms during exercise. There are many benefits to exercise, so work with your doctor to find the best management steps and treatment options for you.
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