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Managing Asthma

If you have a child with asthma, you know that nothing is more alarming then an unexpected asthma attack.  A sudden occurrence can be nerve-wracking and panic-inducing.  When an asthma attack happens, being properly prepared can turn a heart-racing situation to something you can handle head-on.

Asthma Symptoms

The symptoms of asthma can range from moderate to severe.  Some people experience a shortness of breath, while others find an extreme difficulty of breathing.  Knowing the symptoms to an asthma attack can help you figure out how to resolve one more effectively.  If you have asthma, the airways in your lungs are usually inflamed.  During an attack, these airways become more swollen, and muscles lining the airways tighten up.  This inflammation can trigger symptoms such as:

  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Hay fever symptoms like sneezing or a runny nose
  • Changes in phlegm color that you cough up
  • Sleep interruption caused by coughing or wheezing
  • Asthma symptoms during exerciseAir Quality and Asthma

Asthma Triggers

Perhaps the best way to combat an asthma attack is to avoid certain activities and situations that can trigger inflammation.  Asthma triggers come in all different forms.  If you have asthma or live with someone who does, you should familiarize yourself with the various triggers so that you may remove or limit the exposure to triggers.  The most common types of asthma triggers are:

  • Allergens, including dust, pet dander, pollen, mold, dust mites, etc.
  • Viral infections such as the flu and the common cold
  • Smoke, including tobacco
  • Cold air
  • Aerosol sprays and fumes
  • Weather changes
  • Acid reflux
  • Exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)

Best Practices

To protect the people with asthma in your home, make sure you speak with your doctor about creating an asthma action plan.  This plan will help you be prepared for how to act when an unexpected flare up occurs.  Along with the asthma action plan, make your house secure by eliminating as many asthma triggers as possible.  This means making the air in your house as clean as possible.  If you have pets or multiple children, this can be difficult.  An easy solution to improving your indoor air quality would be installing a high MERV rated air filter into your home’s HVAC air filtration system.  An air filter will prevent airborne pathogens from entering your air quality, providing your home with clean, healthy air.  For homes with higher levels of pollen or pet dander, check out higher level MERV rated filters.  Introducing an effective air filter into your household can greatly reduce the number of asthma triggers in your home and give you peace of mind and preparedness for an unexpected asthma flare up.

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