Asthma can affect you at any age and is the third most common chronic disease in Canada. Breathe easy, when properly managed, asthma is a mere nuisance for most, but if not managed it can be very severe. Asthma attacks can significantly affect your quality of life.
Symptoms of asthma can vary and may change over time. Symptoms may include:
- Coughing that is persistent and regular
- Shortness of breath
- Heavy, or tight chest
- Mucous in the airways, more than normal
In asthmatics, a trigger causes airways to swell and fill up with mucous, narrowing pathways to your lungs, making breathing difficult and may lead to an asthma attack. To prevent attacks, avoid triggers, and treat symptoms before they worsen or appear are key to proper asthma management. Your PharmaChoice pharmacist can educate and provide aids for the proper use of inhalers to ensure the proper delivery of medication into your airways.
Asthma triggers are anything that can irritate the airways, and varies for persons:
- Allergic triggers (pollen, pet dander, dust mites)
- Cold air
- Intense emotion
Who gets asthma? There is no known cause of asthma, but there are people at higher risk than others. A family history of asthma, exposure to chemicals or airway irritants such as pollution, history of lung infections, premature birth, and obesity are some possible risk factors.
Treatment and monitoring of asthma are important to prevent worsening of the condition and to prevent attacks. Your pharmacist can explain the use of a peak flow meter so that you can monitor your condition at home, on a regular basis. Monitoring asthma allows you to understand and anticipate your triggers. Adjusting your medication can be performed with proper monitoring and education from your physician and pharmacist.
If you suspect you may have asthma or asthma symptoms have increased in frequency or severity, consult a physician. In the current pandemic environment, keeping asthma under control and avoiding triggers is essential. If you experience difficulty breathing, dry cough, or feel more fatigued than usual, err on the side of caution and contact your local public health line. Do not assume that it is a rough bout of asthma or delay testing. Symptoms of asthma may be confused with other more serious conditions and you should seek medical attention for any breathing problems or changes to your condition. COVID-19 is very contagious even before experiencing any symptoms, wearing a mask whenever out in public is your assurance to others that you care, seeing others do the same makes us all feel safe.