Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes airways to become inflamed and congested. Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Allergic asthma can be flared up by many triggers, including:
- Air fresheners-whether you use plug in or spray air fresheners, the fragrances can cause sneezing and wheezing. They can cause allergic reactions and asthma flare ups and/or attacks.
- Paint-fumes can also trigger allergy and asthma attacks. If you or someone you know has allergies or asthma, you can look for products certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American. There are also paints available with low to zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs or green paint).
- Fruit-sometimes those who are allergic to ragweed and grasses experience allergy symptoms with fruits. This happens when the body mistakes natural chemicals in certain fruits as foreign invaders. Symptoms can result in swollen, tingly itchy mouth, lips or tongue.
- Pain relievers-most people can take NSAIDs and pain relievers without any problems. However, about 3-5% of people suffer from aspirin allergies that can lead to asthma attacks. This condition is called aspirin sensitive asthma. One pain reliever that is said to be safe for those with aspirin sensitive asthma is acetaminophen, but not at high doses.
- Wine and meat-sulfites found in wine and nitrates found in meats can cause allergic reactions for some. For those who are allergic to these, sulfites can lead to asthma attacks, while nitrates can cause itching and hives.
- Spices-while spices go great in many meals, they can also cause allergic reactions for some. Spices are also used in some cosmetic products, but are not always listed on labels. If you are sensitive to spices, remember that the spicier it is, the stronger your reactions can be. Garlic and Cinnamon are two of the most common spice allergies.
- Swimming pools-although chlorine is not defined as an allergy, it may irritate people with skin sensitivities, which can lead to allergy and asthma flare ups. When first adding chlorine to pools, let it settle for a little while before getting in.
- Wood smoke-when fires burn they release chemicals and particles that can irritate people’s allergies and asthma. For those with allergies and asthma, it is recommended they use a propane or gas fireplace.
- Christmas trees-some people with allergies suffer from the great smell of Christmas trees. The best thing is to have an artificial tree. If you can’t do without a real tree, clean the branches to remove pollen and other allergens.
- Remodeling-if you are remodeling, try to avoid being in close contact with vinyl floors, drywall, paint, wallpaper, wood and plaster, as they can irritate allergies and lead to asthma problems. Wear a mask and hang sheets in the remodeling areas so the rest of the house is more protected. Also be sure to air out the house for a short while afterwards.
There are many things that can trigger allergies and asthma. If you experience symptoms, schedule an appointment with an Allergist, and avoid any products that are causing problems. You do not have to suffer from allergies or asthma!