Asthma in Women, Asthma in Pregnancy (cont.)

Prevention of Asthma and Asthma Attacks

Something Usually Triggers an Asthma Attack

An asthma attack occurs when the airways narrow (the process called bronchoconstriction) and inflamed, usually as a result of an asthma trigger. Obviously, if a woman knows certain things trigger her asthma, she should try to avoid exposure to them whenever possible. Usually, something is responsible for triggering asthma flares. The following are issues regarding asthma triggers and prevention of asthma symptoms.

In terms of asthma in children, research is growing daily that strongly suggest that if we abolished exposure of children to cigarette smoking we could actually prevent some cases of asthma. Exposure to cigarette smoke is a risk factor for asthma. Pregnant asthmatics should avoid not only smoking but also exposure to side-stream tobacco smoke.

In families with strong atopic (asthma, allergic eczema rashes, hay fever) tendencies, it is recommended that the infant be fed exclusively with breastmilk as opposed to formula, to decrease the infants risk of getting allergic food sensitivities. Smoking is a well-known asthma attack trigger. Smoking (even just being around someone who is smoking), feathers, mold, and cold air are frequent culprits that should be avoided if possible.

Unfortunately, respiratory viruses are very common triggers of asthma and are often not preventable. It is a good idea to avoid people with known respiratory infections. Influenza vaccination is recommended for asthmatics who will be in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy at the time of annual influenza seasons. Rhinitis (hay fever, reaction to trees and grasses), sinusitis, and gastroesophageal reflux (irritation of the esophagus caused by the gastric contents, see above) can also contribute to asthma.

Respiratory reactions to food can occur when people do not recognize that their trigger food is hidden in the food they are eating. Smoke from food cooking, or a wood-burning fireplace, can also trigger an asthma attack.

Exercise can cause bronchoconstriction in about 70% of asthmatics. This is thought to be partly because exercise prevents the nose from warming and humidifying the air, since mouth-breathing is common during exercise. However, a physician's role is to instruct a woman on how to use appropriate treatments so that she will be able to exercise without having the asthma stop her from achieving her desired activity level. There is medication available to use right before exercise to help prevent exercise-induced symptoms. Changes in the weather can trigger asthma. Dry cold air may be especially bothersome.