Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness— if these have become an all-too-familiar reality to you, it is in your best interest to work with an allergy doctor.
An allergy doctor can do a physical exam and order some tests to confirm a diagnosis. They will devise an action plan, showing you what you can do should your symptoms get worse. Your allergist will also give you lifestyle recommendations to help you avoid flare-ups.
In this blog post, we have provided some useful information on the potential causes of asthma flare-ups as well as specific lifestyle strategies for helping prevent attacks.
Potential Causes of Asthma Flare-Ups
Typically, asthma flare-ups (episodes of more severe symptoms) happen when the sufferer is exposed to certain triggers.
Asthma triggers can vary from one person to another, but can include the following:
- Dry or cold air
- Emotional reactions (e.g., crying and laughing)
- GERD- acid reflux disease
- Mold, dust mites, animal dander, pollen, etc.
- Pollution, including second-hand cigarette smoke
- Respiratory infections (e.g., a cold or the flu)
- Stressful events
- Sudden changes in weather
Your doctor will likely order allergy testing, pulmonary function tests, blood work, and other assessments to understand what worsens your asthma and what may be effective in the ongoing management of your symptoms.
Most people with asthma benefit from an approach combining medications, such as oral corticosteroids and inhalers, and self-care measures.
Preventing Asthma Attacks with Lifestyle Measures
The following lifestyle strategies can go a long way toward keeping asthma flare-ups at bay.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Communicate any changes in your symptoms or if you think it may be necessary for your doctor to make adjustments to or change your medications.
- Work on allergy-proofing your home. It may help you to keep a diary of what specific substances you’re allergic to.
If you have pollen allergies, stay indoors on high-wind, high-pollen days, and keep your windows shut. Install a pollen-tracking app in your mobile device to stay in the know about the pollen count in your area.
Vacuum frequently to remove animal dander and dust mites.
Install a dehumidifier in the basement and other damp areas of your house. In the bedroom, use an air purifier with a HEPA filter, and keep your pets out of all sleeping areas.
Change your bed linens often, and wash them in hot water to remove dust mites.
- Get vaccinated against respiratory infections. This is because if you have asthma, you also have an increased risk of developing complications when you contract respiratory infections.
- Quit smoking. Vaping is a no-no as well. Ask your primary care physician about a structured way to quit.
- Whether it’s swimming, walking, or going for a jog, do whatever form of physical activity your doctor deems appropriate and effective in improving your lung function and keeping you fit over all.
Effective Asthma Treatment in Northeastern Illinois
At Oakbrook Allergists, our board-certified allergists— Dr. David Knysak, Dr. Raymond Pongonis and Dr. Zachary Rubin—along with our entire medical team provide effective solutions for asthma and all types of allergies, helping scores of patients all across Northeastern Illinois live well with or even conquer their condition.
To see one of our allergists, call us at (630) 574-0460, or use our appointment request form. Visit us at one of our locations: in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, or Plainfield.