Karen McPhail, RN, MSN
Avoiding Autumn Allergy and Asthma Triggers
Managing allergies or asthma can be difficult, especially in the Autumn months. Fall festivals, trick or treating with family and grandchildren, hay rides and more can quickly trigger significant issues. If you or your loved one has asthma, remember the following items when out and about, to ensure a save and festive Autumn:
1. Always carry your rescue inhaler any time of the year, but especially in the fall and winter months! Temperature changes and allergens can cause irritation and issues! Review your doctor's instructions about pre-treating before potentially being exposed to any triggers. Prevention is always key!
2. Avoid hay bales and piles of leaves where mold spores and pollen can linger. You may be sad to have to skip raking leaves or that afternoon hay ride, but it will be worth while doing so! All these items can trigger allergies or asthma.
3. Avoid those who smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars. Even when you are in someone's home who smokes often times the lingering smells may trigger issues. Meet with smokers at a location outside of their home to have the best success.
4. Locations can contain issues without even knowing. Be mindful of dust, pet hair, dander that could trigger allergies or asthma. Ensure that you home is dusted frequently using a cloth that will trap particles and not spread them! Even certain herbs and spices frequently used can produce reactions among some individuals.
5. In the fall the temperature often fluctuate quickly. A gorgeous, crisp autumn evening may seem like the perfect time to head out and about. However, these temperature changes can make reactive, asthmatic airways change in a negative way, so gauge things and try to avoid outdoor activities when the temperatures are fluctuating. Going from warm to cold suddenly can present breathing challenges at any age. You can try to bring / wear a scarf or neck roll over your mouth and nose to help reduce the effects of the cold air.
6. The fall is almost always associated with the wonderful smells of the season. We often sit outside with our family around the fire pit making smores and relaxing! However bonfires, wood firepits, scented candles, jack o lanterns, scented candles, and room fresheners can also be asthma triggers. Try to use battery operated candles or votives to light up jack-o-lanterns and other areas. They even have fun electric candles that look as if they are lit and flickering! And also dispose of jack o lanterns timely as the mold can be a trigger to some individuals.
7. Decorating and setting the mood for trick or treaters can be fun, but also risky for some! Dry ice and fog machines help o create a festive and sometimes scary mood, but use caution please! These items can make breathing difficult, even for those without asthma.
8. Finally, gauge yourself through the season. Avoid fatigue, and things that you know set off problems. Even a Haunted house could be a problem if you scare easily, as being frightened, fearful or even over excited can be serious asthma trigger.
So be true to yourself and have a safe and happy autumn!