Taking steps to steer clear of asthma triggers makes it less likely symptoms will flare up.
When it comes to asthma, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Finding ways to prevent an asthma flare-up from occurring can go a long way in lessening the effect of asthma symptoms on your breathing, such as wheezing and coughing. The more successful you are in taking steps to prevent an asthma attack from starting, the less you’ll have to treat the uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms of asthma.
“Allergist are specially trained to treat asthma. About two-thirds or more of those with asthma also have an allergy, and people who have allergies often also have asthma. Allergists take a detailed history and can do testing to identify your unique set of triggers and symptoms. Although there’s no cure for asthma, with the guidance of your allergist and a customized asthma treatment plan, you can manage this chronic condition and enjoy a full and active life.”
-Dr. Adrianne N. Edmundson, Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Here are 6 tips to help you prevent asthma from getting the best of you:
- Know your triggers. Asthma triggers may be different from one person to another. Some of the most common triggers include smoke, air pollution, dust, strong smells, cold air, exercise and respiratory illnesses. Allergens such as pollen, mold or pet dander often trigger asthma. If you’re not sure what you’re allergic to, consider having allergy testing done to identify your triggers.
- Avoid triggers. Once you know your triggers, do your best to avoid them. You may not be able to steer clear of all triggers, but when you can’t avoid them, take steps to lessen their potential impact. For example, if it’s cold outside and the cold triggers your asthma, wear a scarf and loosely cover your nose and mouth so the air you breathe is warmer and moister. Stay away from smoke. This is one of the most potent triggers of asthma.
- Do your best to not get sick. Asthma is often exacerbated by an upper respiratory infection, such as the cold, flu or COVID. Take precautions so you’re less likely to get sick. Stay away from others who are sick, wash your hands often, get recommended vaccines and keep your immune system strong by eating healthy, exercising and getting enough rest.
- Take long-term asthma medications. If you are prescribed long-term asthma medication, take it as prescribed, even when you feel okay. These medications are designed to keep your asthma under control so you’re less likely to have a flare up.
- Consider allergy shots. If allergies tend to trigger your asthma, consider getting allergy shots. These shots contain a very small dose of what you’re allergic to, given at regular intervals, to help your body get used to exposure to the allergen so it doesn’t trigger inflammation and other symptoms.
- Have an asthma plan. Even when you do all the right things, there are times when asthma symptoms may flare up. When that occurs, make sure you’re prepared and know what to do. Keep a rescue inhaler and any other medications you may need with you, especially during activities that may cause a flare-up, such as exercise. Pay attention to whether these treatments are working or if you need medical help.
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Date Last Reviewed: March 16, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD