Asthma Triggers: Spot Them and Avoid Them

Asthma Triggers: Spot Them and Avoid Them

Chances are, if you have asthma you’ve been versed on what to do to keep it at bay. However, if you were just diagnosed, know someone with asthma, or want to brush up on ways to spot and avoid asthma triggers there just may be a few you forgot or never even knew about.

As much as conventional medicine has been able to control asthma symptoms, there may be ways you could avoid using medicine until it is absolutely necessary. By simply being vigilant with your diet and surroundings you just may be able to stave off symptoms such as constricted breathing or even a life threatening respiratory attack.

Know How You Rate

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) reports some quick stats regarding asthma facts and figures. These may help raise awareness and inform on how you rate.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 13 people have asthma
  • Asthma is more common in adult women than adult men
  • Asthma is 80 percent higher in Puerto Ricans than whites
  • Adults are nearly seven times more likely than children to die from asthma
  • The asthma death rate was highest for people 65 or older
  • Ethnic differences in asthma frequency, illness and death are highly connected with poverty, city air quality, indoor allergens, not enough patient education and poor health care

Thunderstorm Pollen Rupture

You may have noticed that right before a thunderstorm there is a distinct, sometimes metallic smell in the air. These are negative ions, a natural change in the atmosphere which actually makes you feel good but what comes next may be a pollen rupture.

Myron J. Zitt, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Northwell Health in Plainview, New York, and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology comments,

“Pollen grains rupture during an electrical storm, releasing airborne allergens, which are then spread by gusty winds from thunderstorm downdrafts, to ultimately lead to an increase in the risk of asthma attacks in allergic individuals,”

As a result, emergency room visits for asthma rise during a thunderstorm. Stay inside to avoid thunderstorm pollen rupture which may affect your breathing.

Inside Food

Simply eating the wrong food could trigger an asthma attack. In some cases it is an allergic reaction due to certain natural food compounds but in others it could be what is added to the food that is the culprit. It is believed that sulfites, preservatives added to many processed foods such as lunch meats, snacks and more, could induce an attack.

Look for and avoid: sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfite. In addition, other additives such as food coloring, especially yellow #5, as well as flavoring agents such as monosodium glutamate (msg) could also be asthma triggers.

Eat as much fresh, unprocessed food as possible particularly organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes beans to avoid these asthma triggers.

Watch Your Pain Management

It looks like any medicine containing aspirin or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ingredients like ibuprofen or naproxen may be linked to asthma symptoms. According to the American College of  Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), approximately 20% of asthma afflicted adults have a negative reaction to aspirin. In fact, in-vitro research has shown that out of just under 65,000 children, those with mothers who used acetaminophen during pregnancy were more prone to developing asthma.

Cold EIB

You may struggle with breathing during strenuous activity if you have asthma. Most of the time, medicine can help but it is essential to remain vigilant during a physical workout, especially in cold weather.

If you do not have asthma but struggle to breathe during exercise you may have Exercise Induced Bronchoconstriction (EIB). EIB is when a person has difficulty breathing during rigorous activity resorting to heavy mouth breathing which is significantly triggered in a cold environment. A UK study reported that asthma patients combining cold and exercise where 70% more likely to experience symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic lists symptoms of EIB which include,

  • Fatigue during exercise
  • Poorer than expected athletic performance
  • Feeling out of shape even when you’re in good physical shape
  • Avoidance of activity (a sign primarily among young children)

Hazy, Hot and Humid

Another potential weather threat to asthma sufferers is a hot and humid atmosphere. Science Daily reports that researchers at the University of Kentucky Medical Center studied the effects of humidity on those afflicted with asthma stating that,

“Results showed that breathing of hot, humid air triggered an immediate increase in airway resistance in patients with mild asthma, but caused either only a very small or no response in healthy subjects. Breathing hot, humid air also triggered consistent coughs in those with asthma.”

Be aware of your reaction to heat and humidity if you are prone to asthma attacks.

Know your asthma triggers like these simple clues to help you or someone you know cope with this stunting condition. Hopefully, it will help remind you when life is motoring by and asthma is the last thing you want to deal with.