Asthma in Women, Asthma in Pregnancy (cont.)

Strong smells or sprays can trigger asthma and should be avoided when possible. These things can irritate people without asthma, but people with asthma are even more sensitive to them. Soaps or shampoos also often contain perfume and should be avoided.

A recent report from the Nurses' Health Study found that increasing weight (as adjusted for height) was associated with increasing risk of asthma in women. The study also found that weight gain after age 18 was strongly associated with risk of adult-onset asthma.

Some people's asthma is triggered by aspirin, though these people represent a very small portion of asthmatics overall. A physician can help determine which particular asthma patients are at risk for aspirin-induced asthma.

Avoiding triggers may help both in averting the acute asthma attack and also over time in improving asthma control.

Treatment Overview

Asthma can be controlled. It requires good communication with a treating physician. There is no reason to settle for lack of improvement in asthma symptoms. Taking care of asthma means carrying out both environmental and medication plans. An asthma episode can often be halted if treated early with medication. People who do not realize or believe that are at risk of dying from asthma. Research confirms that in the community, asthma patients usually have a good prognosis in other words that they have similar survival compared to people in the community without asthma.

Many of the hospitalizations and deaths resulting from asthma can be prevented, but only if people: recognize the symptoms, act on symptoms quickly, avoid asthma triggers, take the correct medications regularly and in correct fashion, and get good education regarding asthma and asthma medications. Some ways to accomplish these goals are discussed below.

Non Pharmacologic (Non-Medication) Intervention

Dust can have mold, animal dander, and dust mites in it. The dust mite is a tiny creature that lives in bedding and furniture as well as carpet. Dust mites are more plentiful in the summer and have trouble surviving in the winter. Dust mite waste products are the cause of allergic reactions. Although dust may cause inflammation in most people, in asthmatics it can cause bronchial constriction (narrow of the airways) and hyper-responsiveness (excessive "twitchiness" of the airways, tendency of the airways to spasm). It is recommended that people susceptible to asthma attempt to eliminate dust sources. Methods to do this include eliminating carpeting, covering mattresses and pillows with special allergy covers (plastic with a zipper, available in many major linen store chains), and washing bedding frequently in hot water. Hot temperatures are necessary for killing the dust mites. Feathers and down are probably not wise to have around asthmatics, nor is wool. As much as possible furniture should be minimal and not upholstered, and dust-prone venetian blinds should be restricted. Curtains should be washed weekly in hot water. Use of pillows or mattresses made of straw is not recommended. Extra throw rugs and old moldy dusty stuffed animals or throw pillows should probably be removed. The best toys are probably those made of washable materials that are not likely to hold dust. Wood is a good toy material from the asthma standpoint.