During summer fun, asthma attacks a concern
In the midst of cool swims in the pool, sizzling cookouts and front porch visits, asthma attacks are often a black cloud hanging over the summer fun. Asthma attacks occur when the airways narrow and constrict breathing, caused by many allergens such as pollen, pet dander and dust. Even drastic shifts in temperature can trigger an attack. This is especially prevalent in the summer, according to the Peach State Health Plan.
“Whether your neighborhood is dealing with stifling humidity, or you get a cool refreshing breeze, quick shifts in outdoor temperatures and weather in general can trigger an attack,” said Dean Greeson, MD, chief medical officer for Peach State Health Plan. “Winds can aggravate pollen and mold allergies, and high temperatures, especially when mixed with pollution, can wreak havoc.”
Though the threat of asthma attacks do pose difficulties to popular summer activities, Peach State offers several tips and reminders to stay attack-free this summer.
• Stay inside when it’s especially hot outside or the pollen is high.
• Campfire smoke and the smell of chlorine are heavy irritants of asthma sufferers. Sit upwind and away from potential fire flare-ups.
• Always take your medicines as your doctor suggests.
• Carry a quick relief inhaler.
• Watch for signs that your asthma is getting worse and act quickly to stop an attack.
• Know your triggers, and stay away from them. • Contact your doctor to help decide when prescriptions need to be adjusted and know if or when to seek emergency help.
It’s important to remember that even when symptoms are not present, asthma is still there.
Peach State Health Plan recommends talking with your doctor and asking questions at least every six months. Peach State offers year-round information through their Asthma Program, a valuable resource for sufferers looking to improve their normal routines and decrease the risks of attacks.
“Our goal is to improve patients’ quality of life,” said Greeson. “We help educate patients and their families. We also provide free spacers — or aerochambers — that can help make asthma inhaled medications more effective, and we give out peak flow meters that can help patients identify triggers, determine if their asthma action plan is working, decide when prescriptions need to be adjusted and know if or when they need to get emergency help.”