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How To Prevent An Asthma Flare Up

Pets Can Easily Cause A Flare

All about asthma attack, asthma flareup and prevention

If youre allergic to animal dander, avoid pets. This includes hamsters, bunnies, and any warm-blooded mammal. The proteins in their skin, fur, saliva, and urine can trigger an asthma flare-up.

How To Avoid Flare-Ups From Pets

Stay away from animals no matter how cute they are! Keep them off furniture and beds. Frequently vacuum carpets and furniture. If you have asthma and a pet, consider finding another home for your furry friend.

Cold Air Can Trigger Asthma Attacks

Asthma sufferers are sensitive to their environment and the air they breathe. Triggers can cause your bronchial passageways to spasm and close off. When this happens, you can feel short of breath and start wheezing or coughing. Its a swelling response in your airways that creates an asthma attack.

Cold air can cause your airways to seize up, triggering an asthma attack. Winter air can also be moist, harboring mold spores and dust mites. When you breathe damp, cold air, you put your lungs at risk for inhaling particles that cause flare-ups and airway swelling.

Cold and flu viruses are prevalent in winter, and cold air makes them spread easily. If you have asthma and you get sick, the mucus your body develops can clog your airways. While you naturally have a thin layer of mucus in your airways, getting sick can create more mucus that fills your narrow breathing passages.

What If You Have An Asthma Attack And No Inhaler

is a condition where the airways in the lungs become constricted and produce more mucus than usual, making it difficult to breathe.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology list the most common signs of asthma as:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

A life-threatening condition

Depending on the severity of the attack, asthma can be life-threatening. Fortunately, for the last fifty years or so asthma pumps which deliver medication directly to the lungs have been available. Inhalers are the asthmatics mobile medical kit and are real lifesavers, especially when there are no medical facilities nearby, and most asthma sufferers realise the importance of always having their inhaler at hand.

According to the contents of inhalers can be divided into relievers , preventers and long-acting bronchodilators. Steroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that effectively reduce the inflammation associated with asthma.

Inevitably, however, there will be situations where asthma suffers find themselves without an inhaler or one that, for whatever reason, doesnt work.

How to handle the situation

If the situation seems dire and the person is struggling to breathe, take them to the nearest ER or call an ambulance. Health Central emphasises that ER doctors would rather that patients come in with relatively mild symptoms than arrive at a later stage gasping for breath. It is much easier to treat mild symptoms than handle a crisis situation.

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Simple Tips To Stop Asthma Waking You At Night In The Long

You dont have to just accept your night-time asthma symptoms as normal.

  • Using your preventer inhaler every day, as prescribed, will build up protection in your airways and keep your asthma symptoms under control, so theyre less likely to wake you at night.
  • If youre having asthma symptoms at night or noticing asthma symptoms when you first wake up, you should make a same day appointment to see your GP or asthma nurse. Symptoms that keep you awake at night are one of the signs you might be at risk of an asthma attack.

Its also important to:

  • Use your written asthma action plan to help you understand how to manage your symptoms and what to do if they get worse.
  • Go for regular asthma reviews with your GP or asthma nurse. They can check youre using your inhalers correctly. Its also a chance to talk about any triggers that might be affecting your sleep.

Cover Mattresses And Box Springs

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Mattresses, box springs, and some blankets and comforters canât be washed. To protect them from dust mites, use special covers for mattresses and pillows. They provide a sturdy wall between you and these pests. It helps to have covers you can close with a zipper, then seal the zipper further with electrical or duct tape. Donât rely on hypoallergenic bedding for protection. It doesnât keep dust mites away.


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Tips From Other People With Asthma

If your asthma is keeping you awake at night, youre not alone.

In our recent sleep survey, 45% of people told us they have difficulty sleeping because of their asthma at least once a week, and nearly 50% said theyd had an asthma attack at night.

Here are some of the things that people tell us help them get a good nights sleep, which our nurses agree might be helpful:

  • Ease a dry throat with a glass of water
  • Try a nasal saline rinse or use decongestants to unblock a stuffy nose
  • Take regular exercise
  • Relax in the evening using mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises or yoga
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.

If you find reading about other peoples experiences useful, or have some advice to share, join the conversations on our HealthUnlocked forum.

Is your child disturbed by symptoms at night? Read our advice on asthma and your childs sleep.

What To Do When Asthma Stops You Sleeping

  • If you have asthma symptoms, sit up and take your reliever inhaler as prescribed.
  • Always make sure your inhaler is beside your bed before you go to sleep, so you dont have to search for it in the middle of the night.
  • Give yourself a bit of time to check your reliever medicine has dealt with your symptoms before you go back to sleep, says Dr Andy Whittamore. This is better than falling asleep straight away only to wake up soon after with asthma symptoms because your reliever didnt help enough.
  • Some people find propping themselves up with extra pillows helps as it keeps the airways open.

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What Asthma Treatment Options Are There

You have options to help manage your asthma. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to control symptoms. These include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medicines reduce swelling and mucus production in your airways. They make it easier for air to enter and exit your lungs. Your healthcare provider may prescribe them to take every day to control or prevent your symptoms.
  • Bronchodilators: These medicines relax the muscles around your airways. The relaxed muscles let the airways move air. They also let mucus move more easily through the airways. These medicines relieve your symptoms when they happen.
  • Biologic therapies for asthma when symptoms persist despite being on proper inhaler therapy.

You can take asthma medicines in several different ways. You may breathe in the medicines using a metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer or other inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.

What Are The Treatments For Asthma

Preventing an Asthma Attack (Asthma #3)

If you have asthma, you will work with your health care provider to create a treatment plan. The plan will include ways to manage your asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. It will include

  • Strategies to avoid triggers. For example, if tobacco smoke is a trigger for you, you should not smoke or allow other people to smoke in your home or car.
  • Short-term relief medicines, also called quick-relief medicines. They help prevent symptoms or relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. They include an inhaler to carry with you all the time. It may also include other types of medicines which work quickly to help open your airways.
  • Control medicines. You take them every day to help prevent symptoms. They work by reducing airway inflammation and preventing narrowing of the airways.

If you have a severe attack and the short-term relief medicines do not work, you will need emergency care.

Your provider may adjust your treatment until asthma symptoms are controlled.

Sometimes asthma is severe and cannot be controlled with other treatments. If you are an adult with uncontrolled asthma, in some cases your provider might suggest bronchial thermoplasty. This is a procedure that uses heat to shrink the smooth muscle in the lungs. Shrinking the muscle reduces your airway’s ability to tighten and allows you to breathe more easily. The procedure has some risks, so it’s important to discuss them with your provider.

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How Asthma Is Classified

To classify your asthma severity, your doctor will consider how often you have signs and symptoms and how severe they are. Your doctor will also consider the results of your physical exam and diagnostic tests.

Determining your asthma severity helps your doctor choose the best treatment. Asthma severity often changes over time, requiring treatment adjustments.

Asthma is classified into four general categories:

Asthma classification
Symptoms throughout the day on most days and frequently at night

These Are The Most Common Asthma Triggers

Among those who have asthma, symptoms present in various ways and for some more often than for others. While some people experience asthma symptoms on a daily basis, others have symptoms only when they encounter specific triggers.

Some common asthma triggers are:

  • Airborne allergens or irritants, including dust, pollen, mold, and pet hair
  • Infections, including the flu, sinusitis, and, in some cases, upper respiratory tract infections
  • Smoke or chemical fumes
  • Stress

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How To Handle Asthma In The Winter

What can you do to ease symptoms if winter weather affects your asthma?

  • Limit outdoor exercise. Work out at home or in the gym.
  • Wear a scarf and use it to warm the air youre breathing.
  • Use humidifiers in your home. Keep them free of mold.
  • Wash hands frequently. Washing with soap for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer while out can keep winter illnesses at bay.
  • Be conscious of your hands. Keep them away from your face and eyes to avoid spreading germs.
  • Get the flu vaccine in early fall.
  • Have an Asthma Action Plan in place. Know what to do in case of a flare-up.
  • Limit time with pets if youre allergic to pet dander. Keep your bedroom pet-free.
  • If dust mites and mold trigger your symptoms, keep your home cool and dry to inhibit their growth.
  • Clean and replace filters in your heating and cooling air ducts. Make sure filters are cleaned at the start of every season. Check periodically to keep indoor air quality optimal.

After An Asthma Attack

How to Treat Stress to Avoid Asthma Attack?

You should see a GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of leaving hospital, or ideally on the same day if you did not need hospital treatment.

About 1 in 6 people treated in hospital for an asthma attack need hospital care again within 2 weeks, so it’s important to discuss how you can reduce your risk of future attacks.

Talk to a doctor or nurse about any changes that may need to be made to manage your condition safely.

For example, the dose of your treatment may need to be adjusted or you may need to be shown how to use your inhaler correctly.

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What Are The Symptoms Of An Asthma Flare

Common symptoms are coughing, shortness of breath , a feeling of tightness in the chest and wheezing. It’s important to watch yourself every day for symptoms of asthma. You may have only one or two of these symptoms.

Another clue that your asthma is flaring up is that you have to take extra doses of your quick-relief asthma medicine more than twice a week because of these symptoms.

How Can We Help Prevent Asthma Flare

To help prevent asthma flare-ups:

  • Make sure your child always has quick-relief medicine and the spacer available.
  • Teach your child how to avoid asthma triggers.
  • Make sure your child takes the long-term control medicine as the doctor directed. Even when your child feels well, it’s important not to skip it.
  • Make sure your child gets a yearly flu vaccine, and washes his or her hands well and often to avoiding germs that lead to colds and other illnesses.
  • Work with the doctor on an effective asthma action plan.

Reviewed by: Aledie Amariah Navas Nazario, MD

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Stay On Top Of Your Medications

Keeping on top of control medications and always having a rescue inhaler with you can go a long way toward preventing emergency issues with your asthma. Sadly, many people dont use their medications correctly.

Be sure to get a good lesson from your specialist on the right way to use your inhaler if you have any confusion. Keep track of when medications need to be refilled, and make sure that your child has medication and an asthma action plan at school.

Is Cold Air Good For Asthma

Dr. Paul O’Byrne (GINA Science Committee) on Asthma Flare-Ups

Cold air is bad for most people with asthma as it tends to irritate the bronchial tubes and trigger asthma symptoms.

If you have asthma, it may be best for you to stay indoors as much as possible during cold winter weather. Be sure to monitor indoor air quality and install HEPA filters in your ventilation systems. Watch for signs of mold and remove it as quickly as possible. Install dust mite-proof pillows and mattress covers in your bedding. Consider buying an air purifier or air cleaner to help remove pet dander and other allergens from your indoor air.

Modern homes have better windows and insulation. They are less drafty and conserve heat better. But that means bedding, furniture, carpets and curtains can hold on to moisture, encouraging dust mites to breed. Keep your home below 50% humidity and use dehumidifiers to help keep dust mites from breeding. When the weather allows, open your windows for one hour per day to reduce humidity in the house.

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When Asthma Is Triggered By Exercise

For many asthma sufferers, flare-ups can be triggered by exercise as the airways constrict. If you suffer from exercise-induced asthma you will probably feel the symptoms of an asthma attack starting five to 15 minutes after you start to work out. In the majority of cases, the symptoms are likely to subside 30 to 60 minutes after you stop exercising. Warming up before vigorous exercise can help to prevent this. It is important that you consult with your healthcare provider about how to approach exercise when you live with asthma, so you can continue to live a healthy life.

The Top Asthma Triggers

Keep the air moving. Open up windows and turn on fans, especially when showering or washing dishes. If something is wet, dry it as soon as possible. Use soap and water to clean mold on dry surfaces. Avoid high humidity with air conditioners and de-humidifiers. Aim for a low humidity of 30 to 50 percent. A hygrometer which is available at hardware stores can measure humidity at home.6

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A Quick Guide On How To Identify And Prevent Asthma Attacks

  • Maayo Well

It could be more than just wheezing and coughing.

Sometimes, you encounter symptoms like the two and think that you have a common cough or allergies, but that may not be the case. It might be asthma and you wont even know it.

Keeping your respiratory health in check is important especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. It helps your body absorb oxygen to promote regular blood circulation and it keeps your other organs functioning properly. In keeping your respiratory conditions healthy, you can:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Avoid pollutants that may damage your airways
  • Exercise regularly
  • Consult with your doctor regularly

Asthma is a common respiratory condition that requires immediate and frequent medical attention. Here are some things you need to know about it.

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Pollution Can Aggravate Asthma Even More


Pollution is caused by several things: car exhaust, road dust, and factory emissions. Pollen and smoke also add to the mix. Poor air quality is much more common in congested, busy cities. Beyond asthma symptoms, outdoor pollution might also cause watery eyes, digestive problems, fever, and sneezing.

You cant control the outdoors, but you can change how you interact with it. Stay away from high-traffic areas. Use an air conditioner to filter incoming air, and regularly check the air quality in your area. If outdoor pollution makes it hard to function, consider moving farther out from a city.

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Why Is Cold Weather Hard On People With Asthma

  • Wild weather: Winter often brings rain, wind and fluctuations in air pressure, even for those in mild climates. Rainy and windy weather can stir up mold spores and barometric pressure changes can trigger sinusitis. These can also cause asthma flare-ups.
  • Illnesses: Colds, flu and viruses are common in winter and can lead to more inflammation of your airways. Such illnesses thicken the mucus in bronchial tubes and make it harder to breathe. This can worsen symptoms or cause asthma flare-ups.
  • Time spent indoors: When the weather is cold, you may stay inside longer with the windows closed and the heat on. And you may be exposed to more indoor allergens, irritants and respiratory viruses. For example, you could be at risk for an asthma flare if your symptoms are triggered by dust, mold or pet dander, or cigarette smoke if theres a smoker in the house.

Other Conditions Can Cause Asthma

Infections, viruses, and diseases that affect your lungs can trigger your asthma. Examples include colds, respiratory infections, pneumonia, and the flu. Sinus infections and acid reflux can also cause an asthma flare-up, as can some medicines.

Perfumes and heavily scented items can aggravate your airways. Stress, anxiety, and other strong emotions can also trigger fast breathing. This irritation in your airway or fast breathing can cause an asthma flare-up too. Additionally, food allergies may cause an asthma attack, especially if you have a history of having an anaphylactic reaction to a food allergen.

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