To asthmatics sensitive to certain triggers, coughing, wheezing and sneezing are more definite signs of spring than April showers or May flowers. If dust, pollen or chemicals increase the amount of attacks you suffer, rest assured that you can reduce asthma triggers during the spring.
To avoid or reduce exposure to triggers, you must first identify those to which you react. You can best identify these triggers by consulting a doctor, undergoing a scratch test for allergic asthma and chronicling daily life to find links for each asthma attack.
Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can better reduce the impact they have.
Pollen is one of the most common asthma triggers. For this reason, you should always check pollen levels before heading outside. You can access numerous websites and applications to find current local pollen levels. In most cases, pollen counts are highest between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so stay indoors during this time if possible.
If you like gardening, create an asthma-friendly yard. Choose plants that require pollination by birds and bees rather than plants that pollinate through the wind. Since pollen can travel 50 miles, you can’t avoid it, but you can make it easier to work with your plants.
Strong scents can trigger asthma, so choose plants with mild or no scent.
Consider re-covering your yard with low-pollen grass or alternative ground cover; buffalo grass, dichondra and Irish moss don’t often trigger attacks. Whether you can re-sod your grass or not, try having someone else care for your lawn. If you must do it, wear a mask to prevent inhaling allergens. Taking an antihistamine prior to performing yard work might reduce the severity of — or prevent — an attack.
After spending time outdoors, change your clothing immediately after returning indoors. Any pollen that adheres to your clothes will travel inside with you and contaminate your home; likewise, don’t hang laundry outdoors to dry.
Some asthmatics find a daily dose of local honey increases their tolerance for pollen. Dr. Joseph Mercola concurs with this remedy, but he stresses that honey, which is a product of plants, could also trigger a more severe asthmatic reaction. Talk with your doctor before attempting a honey cure.
To prevent pollen and dust from bothering you inside your home, ensure adequate ventilation. This means opening windows and doors that allow a cross-breeze throughout your home.
For some people, it isn’t outdoor factors that trigger attacks. Your triggers could stem from the products used in an annual spring cleaning ritual. While cleaning is imperative in removing indoor triggers, you want to avoid chemical triggers. Try using homemade cleaning products such as vinegar and water, baking soda or lemon juice.
If you must use store-bought cleaning products, open a window or two to mitigate the effects of chemicals. Also, look for products displaying the Design for the Environment symbol, which the Environmental Protection Agency advocates as safer for the environment. DFE products contain ingredients less likely than other products to induce an asthma attack.
Since a cure for asthma doesn’t exist, preventive measures best protect you from spring triggers. By identifying your personal triggers and counteracting or avoiding them whenever possible, you can enjoy more typical signs of spring than an asthma attack.