Common Causes of an Asthma Attack

Asthma is a condition which causes the breathing airways to narrow, swell and produce extra mucus. This usually results in wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.

Asthma is a condition that affects 1 in 13 people according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). That means around 25 million Americans go through every day at risk of an asthma attack. If you’re one of them, it’s important to understand what environmental hazards cause asthma attacks so you can adjust and prepare.

When you need an experienced medical team to help you with your asthma, Dr. Talal Khan and Personal Primary Care can give you the specialized care to help you cope. Our team would like to prevent asthma attacks whenever possible, reducing their frequency and severity while improving your quality of life.

There are many common triggers of asthma attacks. Exercise, certain types of whether, and infectious illnesses can trigger an attack. However, many asthma triggers are things you encounter in your environment, including:

Dust mites

Dust mites are tiny, white bugs similar to ticks and spiders, found in most homes. They don’t bite, but they do feed on dead skin cells, and because people constantly shed skin cells, it’s hard to avoid nourishing the dust mites in your home. Though you can’t fully eliminate dust mites from your home, you can take steps to control them, including washing your bedding frequently and avoiding wall-to-wall carpeting where possible.

Tobacco smoke

Though it’s unhealthy for anyone to use tobacco, exposure to tobacco smoke is especially harmful when you have asthma. Cigarettes irritate the lungs and force them to work harder. Even if you don’t smoke, secondhand smoke and smoke residue (sometimes referred to as thirdhand smoke) have similar effects.

Air pollution

Any form of non-naturally occurring particles in the air can be considered air pollution. It can come from gas fumes, dust particles, smoke, ground-level ozone and other sources. Exposure to air pollution decreases lung function, preventing you from breathing deeply. Like the weather, air pollution varies depending on the area, time of the year, and day-by-day. Check the weather forecast, and stay inside in a well-ventilated building if there’s an air quality warning.

Pets

For those of us who love animals, it’s hard to accept that our favorite creatures can cause asthma symptoms to worsen. Pet dander (skin flakes) are a common cause, but saliva, urine or even particles in feathers known as feather dust can cause asthma attacks. If you’re sensitive to pets, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have one, but you may need to take extra steps to avoid asthma attacks.

Mold

Mold is a type of fungus, and they thrive where there’s moisture. There’s a good chance there’s mold somewhere in your home, whether you have spots on your shower curtain, dark stains on your walls, or you’ve left expired food in your fridge. When mold grows, it releases spores, tiny airborne particles. Inhaling spores can cause allergic and asthmatic reactions.

With many asthma triggers can be treated with medications, such as antihistamines, steroids, decongestants, you can reduce your dependence on medication and improve your condition by avoiding your triggers. In addition to medication, Dr. Khan may recommend strategies to reduce your exposure to triggers. However simple or basic they may seem, doing so can make a dramatic difference. 

When you want to get help with managing asthma attacks, make an appointment with Dr. Khan and Personal Primary Care to pinpoint your triggers and find a method that works for you.

 

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