For an asthma sufferer, the symptoms will become worse when certain factors are present. These factors are called ‘triggers’.
Triggers vary from person to person and will therefore require personalised management plans. This Asthma Action Plan would identify the relevant triggers, help to avoid them, and advise which actions should be taken if the person comes into contact with a trigger.
Although triggers vary significantly, there are common asthma triggers. These include:
If you suffer from asthma, you should work with your doctor to establish what factors trigger your symptoms.
Some triggers — such as exercise, certain medications, and food — can be more readily managed than others. Solutions and alternatives can be discussed with your doctor. Together, you can probably determine a level of exercise that you’ll be able to manage without causing yourself harm.
While some triggers can be managed more easily after talking with your doctor, others such as colds and flus, inhaled allergens, cigarette smoke and environmental factors are not so easily handled.
Colds and flus are part of life and can be very difficult to avoid.
If you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma, consider getting vaccinated against influenza. Otherwise your risk of it becoming more severe, possibly developing into pneumonia, is more likely because of compromised respiratory health.
Try to avoid colds and flus by washing your hands regularly during cold and flu seasons and avoid close contact with people who are showing cold and flu symptoms. Eat a healthy vitamin-enriched diet and make sure you are getting sufficient sleep.
Regularly cleaning of your home is needed to keep allergens at bay. These allergens include moulds, animal fur (dander), and dust mites.
To reduce dust mite exposure, you might need to purchase specially designed dust-proof bedding and hypoallergenic pillows to limit dust and create a barrier between yourself and the dust mites. Alternately, you should wash bedding regularly in hot water.
Air filters and air purifiers can help reduce the level of allergens in the home. As effective as these systems claim to be, they cannot guarantee to eliminate all the allergens. If you are particularly sensitive to the particles still present, you may continue to suffer from asthma symptoms.
Cigarette smoke reduces the effect of your asthma medication and increases your risk of a severe asthma attack.
It can be hard to avoid cigarette smoke. You’ll need to actively avoid situations where people are smoking and places where people take cigarette breaks. If you live in the city, be aware of smokers and avoid them while walking in the street.
If you work in an environment where people smoke, let your colleagues know that smoke from cigarettes can cause you to have an asthma attack.
Environmental factors are also difficult to avoid. It’s only logical to avoid these triggers.
Industrial areas, factories, and panel beaters can all cause asthma attacks. Get to know where fumes and pollution are prevalent in your town or city. Then take precautions or avoid those places wherever possible.
If you live in an area with high pollution, talk to your doctor about increasing your medication if necessary to help counteract this trigger.
You should also avoid heavy exercise in areas with high pollution levels and opt for somewhere with cleaner air.
Even when actively avoiding asthma triggers, there will come a time when you’ll be exposed to them regardless. This is why you should have an Asthma Action Plan.
Your Asthma Action Plan is a written set of instructions that will enable someone to help you as effectively as possible when an asthma attack has you in its grip.
A good Asthma Action Plan focuses on what to do if you have an asthma attack and will usually include:
It will be clear to the person with this information in hand, exactly what needs to be done to help you without delay.
If you have not yet established an asthma plan with the help medical professional, you can follow the National Asthma Council’s educational resource: First Aid for Asthma.
Learning First Aid is highly recommended when someone near and dear to you is an asthma sufferer. Our First Aid courses cover first responder treatment for asthma and include, not only a solid understanding of the symptoms and the use of inhalers, but also a comprehensive array of treatments for medical emergencies of all kinds.
We hold First Aid training at branches in four Australian states. Here are just a few: