When you think of asthma, what comes to mind? For most people, the primary image that comes to mind is a person struggling to breathe. This is because one of the primary symptoms of asthma is difficulty breathing. However, this is only one aspect of the condition and doesn’t tell the whole story.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. It can affect lung function and can be triggered by many different things. When airways come into contact with a trigger, they become inflamed and narrow, which causes mucus to build up.
When you feel like your chest is so tight, it can be difficult to breathe. It’s as if you’re trying to breathe through a straw. It’s normal for it to happen once in a while when you have asthma. However, when such situations occur too frequently, it can make it hard to do your daily activities.
Asthma can be treated with medication and management techniques. But it’s important to recognize the triggers of asthma so that you can avoid them as much as possible. If you’re not sure what triggers your asthma, read on to find out what the most common triggers are.
What is Asthma
The airways in your lungs are small tubes that carry oxygen to your lungs. When you have asthma, these tubes become swollen and narrowed, making it difficult for you to breathe. It causes recurring episodes of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and cough.
Asthma is a respiratory disease that affects approximately 25 million Americans. The condition is most common in young people and can last a lifetime.
You may think that it’s just one type of lung disease. However, there are actually many different types of asthma. The most common types of asthma are allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma.
Allergic asthma, as the name suggests, is caused by allergens like pollen, animal dander, and mold. On the other hand, non-allergic asthma can be caused by weather, stress, or outdoor air pollution.
There are also other forms of asthma that can be acquired. Some types of asthma can be triggered by exercise or exercise-related activities, like running or playing sports. Some people develop occupational asthma through occupational exposure to irritating substances (like chemicals or dust).
Others have both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This condition causes trouble in breathing due to lung damage caused by long-term exposure to irritants like cigarette smoke.
How Asthma Attacks Happen
When you have asthma, your airways become irritated and inflamed. That’s why it’s so hard to breathe when you have an asthma attack. When this happens, the muscles around your airways tighten up so that they’re too narrow for air to flow through smoothly. This makes it harder for you to breathe in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide.
You can have an asthma attack at any time, but they’re usually triggered by something in your environment or by your lifestyle. For example, if you spend a lot of time around tobacco smoke or pollen, you’ll likely get many more asthma attacks than someone who doesn’t. Or if you exercise too much without enough rest in between workouts.
There are also many different types of asthma. Some people only have mild symptoms, while others have more severe attacks that can be life-threatening. The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and difficulty breathing. You may also feel like you have no energy or that your heart is racing.
The good news is that asthma can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. It’s also important to see your doctor if you have asthma symptoms, especially if they get worse or don’t improve.
Most Common Asthma Environmental Triggers
Healthy habits and an asthma attack prevention plan will make living with asthma easier. It can help you manage your symptoms and prevent them from getting worse. Thus, it’s important to know what triggers your asthma and how to avoid them when possible.
Asthma attacks are usually triggered by environmental factors, and these are individualized. Triggers for asthma attacks vary from person to person. Some people are more susceptible to specific triggers than others.
Some people only have asthma attacks when they’re exposed to certain triggers. Others may only have mild symptoms and find that they can manage their asthma without using any medications at all.
If you have asthma, it’s important to know what the most common triggers are so that you can avoid them as much as possible. Some of the environmental causes include:
Dust mites are the most common cause of asthma. These are microscopic pests that live in pillows, mattresses, and other soft surfaces. It feeds on dead skin cells, so they thrive in warm, humid environments that are rarely cleaned.
Some people will experience an allergy attack within minutes after exposure to dust mites, while others don’t react until hours or days later. Dust mites can also cause allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis.
If you’re prone to asthma attacks, it’s crucial to minimize your exposure to dust mites. Clean your bedding regularly. Also, wash sheets weekly in hot water or put them in the dryer on high heat for 15 minutes. The heat will kill dust mites and their eggs.
Pet dander is the tiny particles from a pet’s skin and fur. It can cause allergic reactions in some people, especially those with asthma. Dogs and cats are the most common pets that shed dander, but birds and other small animals can also cause allergic reactions.
If you have pets, vacuum your floors often to remove the particles. Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your vacuum cleaner to trap the dander before it gets into the air. If you have severe allergies, consider using air purifiers.
Moreover, keep pets out of bedrooms and other rooms where you spend a lot of time. If possible, keep pets outside or in another room. If you must keep them in the house, wash your hands after touching them and frequently clean areas where they sleep and play.
Cockroaches are another common allergy trigger. They can live in cracks and crevices throughout your home, but they prefer warm, humid environments. The allergens that cause allergies are found in the cockroach’s saliva and feces. Cockroaches also produce allergens when they shed their skins.
If you’re allergic to cockroaches, symptoms may include itchy eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose. In addition, you may have a skin reaction that causes redness, swelling, and hives.
To help reduce the number of cockroaches in your home, clean up food crumbs and spills immediately. Make sure to seal open bags of food quickly after shopping at the grocery store. Cockroaches are attracted to clutter and food waste, so keep surfaces clear of clutter and wipe up spills as soon as they happen.
Mold is a common allergy trigger, particularly if you have asthma or allergies. Mold is a growth of tiny fungi that can be found indoors and outdoors. It’s common to see mold on damp surfaces, but it can also be found in warm, humid climates. Indoor mold can grow on damp surfaces and cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
If you see mold growing in your home, it’s important to remove it quickly because the spores can spread easily. The best way to prevent indoor mold is by keeping surfaces dry and clean. If you have a leaky roof or plumbing problems, fix them immediately.
Outdoor allergens can also trigger symptoms. If you live in a rural area, outdoor allergens may include pollen from trees or grasses. But, if you live in an urban area, outdoor allergens consist of any air pollutants from cars and factories.
Moreover, if you’re allergic to pollen, try to stay indoors during the peak pollen season. Use an air filter or an air conditioner. If you live in an urban area, avoid exercising outside when there is a high level of pollution. Use a mask when you go for a walk or run.
How To Minimize Asthma Triggers At Home
A clean environment is important for asthma control. Moreover, keeping your home clean will keep you and your family healthier overall. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will help you avoid asthma flare-ups.
There are a few things you can do to minimize the asthma trigger in your home. Here are some ways to reduce the number of allergens in your home.
Keep Your Home Environment Clean And Dust-Free
Keep your home environment clean and dust-free by regularly cleaning surfaces. Use a cleaner that contains an antimicrobial agent that kills germs and bacteria. This will help reduce the amount of mold and mildew in your home.
Wash your bedding, pillows, blankets, and comforters regularly. A good rule of thumb is to wash them once a week or more often if you have pets. Be sure to dry them in high heat to kill any dust mites or mold.
Use an air purifier to reduce the number of allergens in your home. This is especially important if you have pets. You can also use an air purifier that uses HEPA filters to remove pollen and other allergens from the air, which will help reduce your symptoms.
Vacuum regularly and thoroughly. It will help reduce the amount of dust and allergens in your home. Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum if possible to help keep those particles from getting back into the air.
Vacuum your floors, rugs, and furniture daily. This can help remove dust mites and other allergens from your home. Regularly clean the filters in your vacuum. This will help keep it working properly and prevent airflow from being restricted.
Control Humidity Levels In Your Home
Humidity levels in your home can affect how often you need to clean and the amount of dust that accumulates. Keeping your home’s humidity level between 30% and 50% is usually recommended. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier if necessary.
Keep your home well ventilated. Open windows and doors for at least 15 minutes a day to allow fresh air in. This can help remove odors and improve the quality of your indoor air. Use fans to circulate air throughout your home.
Avoid Items That May Produce Odors Or Fumes
Odors and fumes from household products can irritate your respiratory system and make you more susceptible to allergies. Try to use natural cleaning products. They are safer for you and your family as well.
Avoid using volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as paint, varnishes, cleaning supplies, furniture polish, and carpet cleaners. If you do use chemicals, make sure they are labeled “allergen-free” or “non-toxic.”
If you have pets in the home, remove their waste from litter boxes daily. Clean them weekly with warm water and soap or a pet-specific cleaner. Also, make sure that your pet is well groomed and bathed regularly.
What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack
Asthma attacks can be life-threatening. It can happen anywhere, at any time. If you’re not prepared for an asthma exacerbation, you could be in serious danger.
Having an attack can be frightening, especially if you don’t know what to do. Thus, it is important to know what to do if you have an attack. Here are some steps that will help you get through an attack:
- Take Your Quick-Relief Medication
Your quick-relief medication can help open up your airways so that you can breathe more easily during an asthma attack. Your doctor will prescribe a fast-acting inhaler that contains a medicine called albuterol or another type of medicine.
If your symptoms are severe or don’t go away with one dose of quick-relief medication, take another dose every 15 minutes until your symptoms are relieved. Moreover, if you need more than two doses of albuterol in an hour, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.
- Get Fresh Air
If you’re having trouble breathing, open up all the windows in your home or office and let in some outdoor air. Some people with asthma find that being outside helps them breathe better than being indoors. If you have to go outside during an asthma attack, make sure it’s not too cold or windy.
- Call For Emergency Help If Needed
If you suspect that you are having an asthma attack and the symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. You can also go to the nearest hospital emergency room for treatment.
Environment plays a big role in any health condition. It is important to keep your home clean and dust-free to avoid regular asthma attacks for long. Take steps to keep your home as clean and dust-free as you can.
Maintain a regular house cleaning routine, vacuum regularly, and make sure your HVAC system is functioning efficiently. Also, consider opening the windows regularly in your home to improve air quality indoors.
Asthma is not caused by a single factor. Thus, paying attention to various causes may help decrease the frequency of asthma attacks you experience at home. So, make sure to maintain a clean and healthy environment in your home to increase your overall quality of life.