Grass pollen isn’t the only trigger for seasonal allergies, but it’s one that asthma patients and parents of children with asthma should be aware of.
Summer is peak season for grass pollen, which is a leading cause of hay fever and asthma attacks for those with allergic asthma. 24 million Americans suffer from asthma, 6 million of these cases are children. During the summer months, children are out of school and playing outdoors with friends. Many families are planning family reunions, barbecues, and summer getaways. Environmental allergies not only disrupt the long-awaited leisure of these activities, but they present a certain risk for asthma sufferers who are unprepared. That is why it’s important to have asthma symptoms diagnosed and treated by an asthma doctor.
Allergic vs. Non-Allergic Asthma
Patients need to be familiar with the type of asthma they have; allergic or non-allergic. Allergic asthma is triggered by environmental factors such as pollen, pet dander, tobacco smoke, and mold exposure. Non-allergic asthma is often triggered by exercise and in some cases by acute or chronic health conditions affecting the lungs. Understanding you or your child’s asthma is the first step to preventing a serious attack. Avoiding exposure to substances and conditions that exacerbate asthma symptoms is top priority, however, this is nearly impossible for people who have asthma and seasonal allergies. An allergist may need to put preventative measures in place to help reduce and manage moderate to severe asthma symptoms related to seasonal allergies.
Find Your Allergy Clinic
An allergy specialist is specifically trained to identify allergens and develop treatment strategies for asthma patients. Medication needs vary between quick-relief inhalers and a combination of inhalers and long-term controller medications. Visiting an allergy clinic is the best way to know that your asthma is being managed and monitored each year. Look up allergists in your area and choose an allergy clinic that’s right for you. Schedule visits with your allergist and your asthma doctor once a year, or more frequently if you notice worsening symptoms.
Be Aware of Other Asthma Triggers
Aside from pollen and pet dander, people with allergic asthma should be aware of other insidious triggers like mold and dust mites. These indoor allergens are common year-round, but the abundance of these substances is highly altitude-dependent. Asthma patients are more likely to experience irritation during the warmer and damper months. Be sure to keep your home clean and moisture-free in the summer months, especially if you experience frequent rainy weather. Take care of structural leaks in pipes, ceilings, windows, and other fixtures as soon as possible. Keep carpets and rugs dry, and vacuum frequently to avoid the accumulation of pet dander, pollen, and other allergens.
When Your Asthma Is Getting Worse
If you find yourself reaching for your asthma inhaler more than twice a week, or that your child’s wheezing spells are growing in frequency, get to the nearest asthma doctor immediately. These are not symptoms to ignore. Quick-relief inhalers are not intended for repeated use and should not replace regular care from a trained asthma specialist. Although you are familiar with your asthma and triggers, there could be unknown allergens in your environment causing more frequent flare-ups. Take caution and visit your allergy clinic if your symptoms increase.
Do Your Research
Stay up to date on asthma news and treatments available. Know about the different asthma and allergy clinics in your area and find out what you can do to be prepared for seasonal allergies each year.