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Know Your Asthma Triggers

Tips for keeping wheezing at bay this spring

SATURDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Spring brings many good things, but allergens are not among them, especially if you have asthma.

Pollen from blooming flowers, trees and grass is a common asthma trigger that sufferers must learn to cope with this time of year, note officials from the Asthma Research Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Other common triggers include certain foods, strenuous exercise, illness and environmental factors, such as smoke and pet dander.

"The triggers for asthma symptoms differ from person to person," Dr. Michael Wechsler, associate director of the Asthma Research Center, said in a news release. "Knowing your triggers is an important first step in reducing symptoms, by reducing exposure."

For allergen-related asthma, this may mean staying inside when pollen counts are high; for those with exercise-induced asthma, it means paying closer attention to one's breathing and exertion levels during physical activity.

In addition to knowing and managing your triggers, Wechsler said asthma sufferers should also:

  • Devise a healthy diet and exercise plan with your doctor and maintain it. Even if it is a trigger, exercise should not be avoided entirely as it is vital for good overall health.
  • Learn to identify and cope with day-to-day stress and to anticipate potentially stressful situations.
  • Work with your doctor to identify the best asthma medications for your condition.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about asthma.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, April 28, 2009

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