Tips For Handling Asthma During The Spring

If you're asthmatic, you may not be looking forward to spring as much as other people. Spring allergies are notoriously difficult on asthmatics. If you're looking for ways to handle your spring allergies and keep your asthma under control, here's some good advice to follow.

Understand Your Asthma Triggers And Blockers

Your asthma comes from an inflammation of the airways in your lungs—which is why spring is so dangerous. When ordinary trees, like the ash, birch, elm, maple, and oak, burst into bloom in spring, the pollen they produce can create havoc with your airways in early spring. By late spring, just about every type of grass out there gets into the act—and your airways will probably be swollen and inflamed. 

Your best bet is to control the symptoms of allergies before they trigger an asthma attack. As soon as you experience the sinus pain, runny nose, itchy eyes, and sore throat commonly associated with allergies, start taking allergy medication. 

A nasal spray can be particularly helpful to take on top of a regular antihistamine, like Benadryl or Claritin, so don't hesitate to ask your doctor for something like Nasonex. In addition, however, you may want to try adding over-the-counter famotidine (Pepcid) to your allergy regime. Famotidine is a histamine-two blocker—it can protect you from allergies that can trigger your asthma in surprising ways. 

Check The Pollen Count And Avoid Trigger Times

Pollen counts vary from day to day, but also from hour to hour. If you have things you need to do outside (including running errands), learn to check the pollen count on the weather report daily. When there's a pollen advisory, try to avoid going outside and make use of your air conditioning system. If you must go out, try to head out early in the morning or in the evening when pollen counts are lower. Keep in mind that pollen counts rise (and fall) later in the day in urban areas than they do in the suburbs or country.

Track Your Symptoms And Inform Your Doctor

Finally, the best thing you can do to keep asthma from getting serious is to track your systems and keep your doctor informed. Keep a record that you can give to your asthma specialist to review for patterns and upticks in issues during your appointment. While you're at it, make a list of questions you want to ask your specialist while you are there. Discuss better methods of avoiding an asthmatic crisis during spring, and make sure you understand when you need to seek emergency treatment.