Allercy and Asthma Health
The Official Publication of AAN - MA

Asthma and Preparing for the Fall Season


by Grace Noynay, BS, RRT

It's that time again, when we are slowly losing the vibrant energy of the summer season. When the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier and the coolness in the air starts to kick in, fall starts to take over. The main features of this season are the change of color and the shedding of leaves and pollens from trees as they pave the way for further growth.

For many asthma sufferers, this change can lead to some allergy reactions that may lead to an asthma attack. Also, some healthy people can develop asthma symptoms during physical activity like exercising or even just being outdoors. Whatever motivation, activities, and plan you might have for the rest of the year, prevention of allergies and asthma should be your first priority.

Since asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease involving tightening and inflammation in the airways in the lungs, being able to detect those changes in your health is really important for controlling asthma. Inflamed lungs have difficulty moving air in and out of the airways, causing symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

Prioritizing, preparing and preventing are the keys to making this fall season livable:

Plan Your Day – Self-managing asthma day to day is important to breathe well. Keep asthma symptoms under control by using a prescribed inhaler when necessary. Take the medications your doctor recommends. Note that allergy medicine works best when you take them every day just before you start your daily activities.

Watch What You Eat – Keep track of what you eat. Since there is no "asthma diet" it is essential to pay attention to what triggers your asthma. Some food, like nuts, shellfish, and dairy can cause the triggers. Keep your body hydrated as much as possible; carrying a bottle of water may help you.

Exercising with Asthma – Staying active is an important way to stay healthy, so asthma shouldn't keep you from going out and enjoying the crisp fall season. Keep in touch with your primary care provider before making any major exercise plan. Take notes of your progress and triggers as these may be useful for future diagnosis.

Smoking and Asthma – Smoke is a major trigger of asthma symptoms and is also your lungs' worst enemy. Secondhand smoke exposure is also bad. Stay away from smoking and vaping!

Your primary care provider can develop an asthma action plan to keep your symptoms under control before, during, and after physical activity this fall. And remember, as a safety precaution, carry your quick-acting inhaler. It may save your life! •

Grace Noynay, BS, RRT, is a Registered Respiratory Therapist in Denver, CO, and a member of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

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