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Comprehensive. Convenient. Compassionate.
A Division of Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

3 Ways to Prevent Asthma Before an Attack

May 30, 2022

A mother in a yellow sweater is holding her daughter on her lap while administering an asthma breathing treatment using a nebulizer and child’s face mask.

This article has been medically reviewed and approved by Dr. Baez.

Asthma is a complex condition that affects 1 in 13 people, or about 25 million people, each year.

In fact, asthma is the leading cause of chronic illness in children, with over 5 million affected by asthma symptoms each year.

If left untreated, asthma can lead to debilitating and even deadly symptoms. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with asthma, or if you’re experiencing symptoms consistent with the disease, it is imperative to know how to effectively treat asthma before an attack and how to prevent asthma symptoms altogether.

At PVHC, we recognize the implications of an asthma diagnosis on you or a loved one. We provide comprehensive disease education, thoughtful diagnosis and advanced treatment to help you live your healthiest life, with or without asthma.

Let’s explore effective ways to prevent asthma.

First, What Is Asthma?

Asthma is one of the most common conditions in the United States.

It is classified as a chronic respiratory disease that causes swelling and inflammation of the airways. The result is narrowed airways in the throat and nose, leading to alarming symptoms if escalated or left untreated.

Asthma is more common in male children than females. Conversely, it is more common in female adults than males. Additionally, asthma is most prevalent in both African-American adults and children.

Although for many, asthma tends to dissipate with age, an asthma diagnosis is for life, even with no active or chronic symptoms.

Asthma Symptoms

The frequency, severity and number of asthma symptoms vary from person to person but most often include

  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing
  • a dry cough that may include phlegm, especially at night or during exercise
  • rapid breathing
  • mouth breathing
  • increased heart rate
  • throat irritation
  • pain or tightness in the chest

Symptoms of asthma often increase in frequency and severity during respiratory illnesses such as a cold, flu and COVID-19.

What’s an Asthma Attack?

An asthma attack is a period of time when asthma symptoms are apparent and difficult to manage. During an attack, the airways become swollen and narrowed, making it extremely hard to breathe. An asthma attack can lead to a life-threatening respiratory emergency in severe cases.

If you or a loved one is experiencing an asthma attack with severe symptoms, you should call 9-1-1 immediately.

Although asthma cannot be cured, there are effective ways to treat the condition to prevent an asthma attack from occurring.

3 Ways to Prevent an Asthma Attack

Over 40% of adults and 44% of children diagnosed with asthma experience an asthma attack each year. Considering that almost half of all those with the condition have an attack, it is essential to understand effective ways to prevent one before they happen.

Here are our top three ways to prevent an asthma attack.

1. Avoid known allergens and triggers.

Environmental factors, such as allergens, are the leading cause of asthma symptoms that lead to attacks.

It is important to work with your doctor to determine exactly what allergens trigger your asthma flares to understand what you should avoid. Common triggers often include mold, dust mites and pollen.

2. Air filtration systems and humidifiers can help clear the air.

Once you’ve identified your allergens and asthma triggers, clearing the air, especially in your home and office, is key to reducing your risks of an attack.

Consider opting for a new air filtration system to rid the air of potential allergens, especially during heightening allergy months. Most highly efficient filtration systems can clear more than 99% of allergens that are 0.3 microns or larger. This includes mold, mildew and pollen.

Humidifiers are another great, less expensive option to help with asthma symptoms, especially if you are actively experiencing them. Adding moisture to the air has been proven to lessen symptom severity. It is important to stay on top of cleaning your humidifier to avoid adding allergens, like mold, to the air.

3. Consider immunotherapy or prescription medications.

One of the most effective ways to control asthma symptoms is through immunotherapy and prescription medication.

Allergy shots are administered during immunotherapy to change your immune system’s response to allergens, making you less likely to experience symptoms over time.

Asthma medication is often prescribed in two ways:

  1. a daily medication to help with symptom severity that also works to prevent attacks
  2. an immediate response drug that helps for in-the-moment attacks

Asthma medications most commonly come in the form of an inhaler, tablet, shot or liquid breathing treatment form.

Managing an Asthma Diagnosis Effectively

At PVHC, we understand that new or worsening asthma symptoms can be worrisome and problematic, especially if it leads to an asthma attack or difficulty breathing. We also recognize that asthma can affect anyone at any age and is often most hard to manage for children. That’s where we come in — your family's health matters to us.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms consistent with an asthma diagnosis or are having difficulty managing your asthma effectively, even with our top ways to prevent attacks, we can help; visit us today to get the help you need to manage asthma and avoid attacks.

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