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Managing Allergic Asthma at all Ages: Tips to Keep in Mind

If you’re living with allergic asthma, you know that careful management of your symptoms is key to feeling your best. If you’ve had asthma for a long time, chances are you’re adept at managing it. However, if you’ve been recently diagnosed, there are a number of important tips to keep in mind to fight your asthma and keep you feeling healthy.

Be aware of your triggers

“You need to first identify the trigger for your asthma by getting a skin test to determine your exact triggers,” advises Dr. Mark Posner, M.D., Partner Physician at Allergy & Asthma Specialists.

The allergist will check for triggers of all kinds – from dust and pollen to dogs and cats. This is extremely important, as your symptoms will only get worse with asthma.

Keep up with your medications as prescribed

Asthma medication can be categorized by two types: quick-relief and long-term relief. Quick-relief medication refers to albuterol inhalers, best kept with you at all times, taken whenever you feel an allergic asthma flare-up. A nebulizer or breathing machine also helps relieve symptoms like coughing and wheezing. Your long-term relief medications typically consist of an inhaler used daily. Make sure to restock when you’re running low, as even a week without your inhaler can cause symptoms to return.

Lessen exposure to cold and dry air, and be aware of weather changes

“Although the cold itself doesn’t make you sick, it’s still important to lessen the time you spend in cold weather because you could be allergic to the cold and weather changes,” Dr. Posner explains.

Dry air also affects asthma and allergies, so keep a humidifier at home. Also be aware that extreme weather changes, common in the fall and spring, also trigger symptoms.

Minimize dust in your home

Dust mites are the most common household allergen. In order to minimize dust at home, make sure to wash all bedding, not just your sheets, once a week. Avoid down comforters, pillows, and coats. Also, keep in mind that carpet can attract dust mites; hardwood or tiled floors are better for people with allergic asthma.

Live in a pet-free home

Many people love pets. Unfortunately, those cute and furry friends don’t always keep you feeling good if you have asthma and allergies. The dander from dogs and cats can bring on symptoms in a flash, especially since it spreads through the airto your clothes. Even if your allergic asthma is not triggered by dogs or cats, it’s best to avoid having one at home.

Avoid smoke and perfume

Although most restaurants and bars are smoke-free these days, there are still occasions where you can come into contact with cigarette smoke. Do your best to stay away from secondhand smoke, as it poses a major threat to your heath if you’re an asthmatic. Perfume and other odors can also trigger your asthma, so try to avoid candle shops and perfume counters at your local department store.

Manage anxiety and stress, and get plenty of rest

Emotional anxiety and stress can actually increase your asthma symptoms, so watching your diet and getting plenty of sleep not only benefit your emotional well-being, but your physical health as well. Remember that the mind and body are closely connected.

“The immune system wants you to eat well, get plenty of sleep, and reduce stress,” Dr. Posner says, adding that regular exercise can also help in managing your symptoms, as “exercise is a good stress reliever and helps the immune system.”

Life often gets in the way, making it sometimes difficult to focus on what you need to do to maintain good health when you have asthma and allergies. Keeping these tips in mind, however, is key to feeling your best.

Fellowship-trained, board certified allergists/immunologists at Allergy & Asthma Specialists provide comprehensive allergy and asthma diagnostics and state-of-the-art treatment at offices in Center City Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, and Collegeville, PA. Schedule today online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call 1-800-86COUGH, select option 2.