Summertime can bring asthma sufferers a lot of misery, but lung experts say watching for warning signs of breathing trouble can guard against serious complications.
"As the leading organisation working to save lives by improving lung health, we think it's crucial for people with asthma to know as much as they can about the disease," said Dr David Hill, volunteer medical spokesperson at the American Lung Association.
No cure for asthma
"This includes the fact that changing seasons have a major impact on asthma. Being prepared for the summer and understanding warning signs can help prevent serious complications," he said in a lung association news release.
Summer can bring increased pollen in the air, hot temperatures and associated ozone and particle pollution – all of which can trigger asthma symptoms.
There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled and managed. Key warning signs that asthma may not be in control include: needing to use a quick-relief inhaler more than two times a week; waking at night with asthma symptoms more than two times a month; having to refill a quick-relief inhaler more than two times a year.
If you have any of these warning signs, you should see your health care provider to improve management of asthma symptoms, such as reducing exposure to asthma triggers, the lung association advised.
May is Asthma Awareness Month.
Longer allergy seasons
Asthma affects about one in 13 people in the United States, including more than six million children, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the most common childhood disease but can start at any age. The rate of asthma nearly tripled between 1980 and 2010.
Research shows that rising temperatures due to climate change are leading to longer and more intense allergy seasons, according to the news release.
The lung association offers a free, online learning course about asthma triggers, how to identify and reduce them, action plans for flare-ups, how to respond to a breathing emergency, asthma medication education, and an asthma management plan outline.
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