ATLANTA — There still is time for summer fun, but unfortunately for those who suffer from asthma, some favorite seasonal outdoor activities often can lead to asthma attacks.
Asthma is a disease that makes the airways in the lungs inflamed, swollen and sensitive. An asthma attack happens when the airways narrow, making it hard to breathe. Many allergens can trigger an attack, including pet dander, dust mites, cockroach droppings and even the weather, particularly at this time of year.
“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 Dr. Dean Greeson, 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.”
Summer fun is filled with other potential dangers for those who suffer from allergies and asthma.
Campfire smoke is one common culprit. Experts at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology said it’s best to sit upwind and not too close to the fire to avoid a flare-up. And, they added, even the backyard or community pool can pose a threat. While chlorine isn’t an allergen, its smell can be irritating and cause allergy-like symptoms or even asthma attacks in some people.
To lower the risk of having an attack, keep an eye on each day’s temperature and pollen count, and stay inside when it’s especially hot or when the pollen is high. And it’s important to remember with asthma that it’s still there even when there are no symptoms.
• Always take medicines as the doctor suggests.
• Carry a quick relief inhaler.
• Watch for signs that the asthma is getting worse and act quickly to stop an attack.
• Know triggers, and stay away from them.
• Contact a doctor to help decide when prescriptions need to be adjusted and know if or when to seek emergency help.
Experts at Peach State Health Plan said asthma sufferers should talk to their doctors at least every six months, and ask questions. Asthma sufferers also can get insight and information year-round through Peach State’s Asthma Program.
For more information, go to pshpgeorgia.com.