Living with Asthma During the Outdoor Allergy Season

With allergy season in full force, those who suffer from asthma should be aware of the triggers, symptoms and treatments of asthma. Many asthma cases are linked to allergies. With the proper diagnosis, treatment and awareness, you can live a normal life with no symptoms or limitations.

Asthma is a chronic or daily disease that makes the air passages become inflamed, causing a narrowing of the airways carrying oxygen to the lungs. About 40 million Americans suffer from asthma; roughly 20 million of them are adults. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, limitations of exercise, night or morning cough or frequent albuterol use.

Common allergens that can trigger an asthma attack are:
◾Pollens (trees, grasses and weeds)
◾Mold, indoor and outdoor
◾Animal dander from all mammals
◾Dust and dust mites

Meanwhile, other triggers include:
◾Tobacco smoke
◾Air pollution
◾Cold air and barometric pressure changes
◾Change in temperature and/or humidity
◾Strong chemicals
◾Perfumes and colognes
◾Intense emotions and extreme laughing or crying
◾Exercise (asthma-induced)
◾Infections such as colds, flu and sinusitis

With a few helpful tips, you can do any exercising or activities with allergies and asthma.
◾If you have allergies and enjoy exercising outdoors, wait until early evening when the pollen count is lower.
◾Always carry a rescue inhaler on you.
◾A quick warm up before exercising can help minimize breathing problems
◾Swimming is a common exercise for those with asthma. Breathing in warm, humid air keeps airways open (cold air can constrict airways)
◾Breathe in through your nose as it warms up and humidifies air before it gets to your lungs, making it easier to breathe
◾Cool down and stretch after exercising

If you are experiencing asthma and/or symptoms, speak with your physician about getting tested. A pulmonary function test will be given to check how well your lungs bring air in and out. Then a bronchodilator (rescue or short acting treatment) will be given, followed by another pulmonary function test shortly after. Based on your results, your physician will determine if you are asthmatic and how severe it is.

Treatments include bronchodilators, long-acting inhalers, immunotherapy and daily antihistamines (if allergy results are positive), Xolair injections, nasal care,  and anti-inflammatory medications such as inhaled steroids. These treatments can help you live a fully normal, active lifestyle with no restrictions or limitations, especially during the summer when the weather is warm and allergies are in full swing.  If you need your rescue inhaler with exercise or exertion your asthma is not in control and your physician or an allergist can help you become normal. Pre-treatment means your asthma is not being well managed and re-evaluation is necessary. See our videos at for our videos on asthma and allergies. Live a wonderful life with no restrictions or limitations, no matter how bad your allergies are or asthma is.