Frequently Asked Questions About Asthma
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 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 can 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.
9. I Have Allergies to Mites and Mold; How Do I Avoid Them?
If you have allergies to mites and mold, approaches to avoid dust mites and mold include:
- Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs with allergen-proof, zippered covers.
- Wash all bedding in hot water once a week.
- Non-carpeted flooring is best. If you cannot get rid of your carpeting, vacuum often with an HEPA filter. Wear a mask while vacuuming. If your child has asthma, do not vacuum while he or she is in the room. Products that eliminate dust mites from carpeting (such as Acarosan) can be purchased. Your asthma care provider can give you information about these products.
- Avoid curtains and drapes. Use plain window shades instead of mini-blinds. Washable curtains should be washed in hot water every two to four weeks.
- Dust all surfaces with a damp cloth often, including lampshades and windowsills.
- Keep clutter under control. Toys and books should be stored in enclosed bookshelves, drawers, or closets.
- Replace traditional stuffed animals with washable stuffed animals.
- Keep all clothing in drawers and closets. Keep drawers and closets closed.
- Cover air ducts with filters. Change these when soiled.
- Pillows and bedding should not contain feathers.
- Keep indoor humidity low (below 55%). Use a dehumidifier if needed.
- Regularly change filters on heaters and air conditioners.
Mold and Mildew
- Air out damp, humid areas frequently. Run a dehumidifier to keep humidity between 35% and 45%.
- Use air conditioners when possible.
- Clean bathrooms regularly using products that kill and prevent mold. Use exhaust fans to vent steam. Do not carpet the bathroom.
- Keep indoor plants out of bedrooms.
- When painting, add mold inhibitor to paint to prevent mold from growing.
- Avoid sources of outdoor molds, such as wet leaves or garden debris.