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Frequently Asked Questions About Asthma

5. Can Asthma Drugs Affect my Baby if I'm Pregnant?

It is normal for mothers-to-be to feel uneasy taking medications while pregnant. However, if a pregnant woman has asthma, it is especially important that her asthma is well- controlled not only for her own health but also for the health and development of her unborn child. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss your asthma with your doctor so your airways can be stabilized and appropriate medications prescribed. The risks of uncontrolled asthma in pregnancy are greater than the risks of necessary prescribed asthma drugs.

6. How Can I Prevent Asthma Symptoms After Exercise?

You shouldn't avoid exercise because of exercise-induced asthma. Inhaled medications taken prior to exercise can usually help control and prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms. The preferred medications are short-acting beta 2-agonists such as albuterol.

In addition to taking asthma medicine, warming up prior to exercising may help prevent an attack. For those with known allergies, outside exercise should be limited during high pollen days. Outside exercise should also be limited when temperatures are very low or air pollution levels are high. The presence of viral infections, such as colds, can also increase symptoms, so it's best to restrict your exercise when you're sick.

7. I'm Exposed to Substances at Work That Worsen my Asthma. What Can I Do to Prevent This?

Generally, if asthma symptoms are worse on days that you work, and improve when you are at home for any length of time (weekends, vacations) and then reoccur when you return to work, occupational asthma should be considered. This may be allergy related or an irritant reaction from exposure to triggers in the workplace. Identification and avoidance of triggers and starting an appropriate medical treatment plan will help to stabilize your airways and decrease symptoms. Ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist, preferably an allergist, to begin the correct treatment program.

8. I Have Heartburn; Can It Worsen Asthma?

Heartburn is often a sign of a disease called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Although studies have shown a relationship between asthma and GERD, the exact relationship is uncertain. GERD may worsen asthma symptoms and make asthma harder to treat. If you have coughing that is not completely resolved by taking your asthma medications then inform your doctor. GERD can be one of the reasons this is happening.

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