Asthma is a chronic lung condition in which the air passages constrict and become inflamed, leading to breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. Asthma attacks happen when you come in contact with a trigger. But what triggers your attack may not trigger someone else’s. “Knowing your triggers and how to avoid them is the first step to feeling better,” said Dustin Dever, DO, a Richmond family medicine specialist with Baptist Health Medical Group. Here are some common triggers and how to tame them:
- Pollen: Pollen is most troublesome during the spring and fall; however, flowers, weeds and grass bloom throughout the year.
- Tame it: Wind can carry pollen up to 100 miles, so stay inside on blustery days, close windows and run the air conditioner.
- Mold: Mold needs moisture to thrive. This means your basement, shower curtain and even plants are susceptible.
- Tame it: Keep the humidity in your house under 50 percent to avoid mold growth, fix leaky faucets and pipes right away, and keep plants outside. Buy a dehumidifier and toss out molded or mildewed shower curtains and rugs.
- Dust: Dust mites lurk in the rooms you use the most, such as your living room and bedroom.
- Tame it: Buy dust-proof covers pillows and wraps, and regularly wash your linens in hot water. Get rid of clutter ad consider replacing carpet with tile or hardwood. For carpeted areas, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Pets: All animals have dander. Your furry one’s skin, saliva, urine and feces can all be triggers.
- Tame it: You don’t have to put Fido in the doghouse. But do make your bedroom and furniture pet-free zones, bathe your pet frequently and wash your hands after petting him.
- Smoke: Smoke aggravates the linings of your airways, making you more vulnerable to asthma attacks.
- Tame it: Don’t smoke or allow others to smoke in your home or the car. Also avoid wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.
- Bold Scents: Perfumes, deodorants, cleaning supplies, candles and nail polish can smell like trouble for someone with asthma.
- Tame it: Avoid whenever you can, and choose cleaning products and personal hygiene items that are fragrance-fee.
Talk to your doctor about any breathing issues you’re experiencing. Need a doctor? Find one that’s convenient for you.