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7 Frequently Asked Questions about Living with Asthma

At times, dealing with asthma can seem like an overwhelming ordeal. Always having to be wary of asthma triggers and what to do in the event of an attack can be taxing on a sufferer’s well being. With the right information, however, living a life with asthma can be manageable and simple. Here are answers to 7 common questions regarding a life with asthma.

1. How Can I Prevent an Asthma Attack?

There are several things that you can do to help prevent asthma attacks. Some include:

  • Minimize asthma triggers. People with asthma can be proactive in controlling their condition by identifying triggers of their asthma attacks and taking measures to minimize these triggers at home, at work, or at school.
  • Take your asthma medicine. Many people with chronic asthma may need to take medication (usually an inhaled corticosteroid) that helps decrease the inflammation of the airways. If your doctor puts you on a daily asthma medication, it’s important that you take it as prescribed.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Get annual flu shots.

2. Why Does My Asthma Worsen Whenever I Take Pain Medication?

One cause could be sensitivity to aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Motrin, Aleve, or Naprosyn). If this is the asthma trigger, you should avoid all of these drugs and consult your doctor for further evaluation.

3. What are the Side Effects of My Bronchodilator Medicine?

Common side effects of bronchodilators include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Tremors

These side effects are most common in oral forms (pills and liquids that you can swallow) of bronchodilator medicine. However, sometimes inhaled forms can cause these symptoms, as well. Side effects generally go away as you adjust to the medication. If they are reoccurring, contact your doctor for a follow up.

4. Can Asthma Drugs Affect My Baby if I’m Pregnant?

Mothers-to-be can feel uneasy taking medications while pregnant. However, if you are pregnant with asthma, it is important that your asthma is well controlled for the health and development of your baby. If you are pregnant, discuss your asthma treatment with your doctor so your medications are adjusted as needed. If uncontrolled, the risks of asthma attacks increase.

5. How Can I Prevent Asthma Symptoms After Exercise?

A strong, healthy body is one your best proactive defenses against disease. While exercising can cause shortness of breath in anyone, some people experience asthma episodes. During instances like these, you may have respiratory difficulty that is triggered by aerobic exercise that lasts for several minutes. The muscle bands around the airways respond to changes in temperature and humidity by contracting, which narrows the airway. To prevent these asthma triggers, lifestyle and home remedies can help.

  • Do a 10-minute warm up that varies in intensity before you begin regular exercise.
  • Breathe through your nose to warm and humidify the air before it enters your lungs.
  • Wear a face mask or scarf when exercising, especially in cold, dry weather.
  • If you have allergies, avoid triggers. For example, don’t exercise outside when pollen counts are high.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise if you have a cold or other respiratory infection.
  • Exercise regularly to stay in shape and promote good respiratory health.

6. How Can I Prevent Asthma Attacks if I am Exposed to Triggers at Work?

Occupational asthma, also known as work-related asthma, is a chronic lung disease in which symptoms are caused or worsen by exposure to substances in the workplace. If you suspect that you have occupational asthma, your specialist may prescribe and recommend treatment and medication to alleviate the symptoms.

For long-term control, oral or inhaled medications may include inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, long-acting beta agonists, combination inhalers, and/or theophylline. For quick relief, your specialist may recommend allergy medications, allergy shots, and/or omalizumab (xolair) injections.

7. How Do I Avoid Asthma Attacks and Reactions to Mites and Mold?

If you have allergies to dust mites, approaches to take include:

  • Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs with allergen-proof, zippered covers
  • Wash all bedding in hot water once a week.
  • Remove carpeting. If not, vacuum often with an HEPA filter. Wear a mask while vacuuming.
  • Dust all surfaces with a damp cloth often, including lampshades and windowsills.
  • Replace traditional stuffed animals with washable stuffed animals.
  • Regularly change filters on heaters and air conditioners.

If you have allergies to mold and mildew, approaches to take include:

  • Air out damp, humid areas frequently.
  • Use air conditioners when possible.
  • Clean bathrooms regularly using products that kill and prevent mold.
  • Avoid sources of outdoor molds, such as wet leaves or garden debris

Schedule a Consultation

Living with asthma can wreak havoc in the quality of life. If you suffer from asthma in cold weather, it may be time to discuss a prevention and treatment plan with your doctor. To get started, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shukla today. We have 7 locations throughout Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn.


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