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Asthma & Allergies - What to look out for in your home

In this blog we will look at the impact of allergies on asthma, common allergens in and around your home and what you can do to minimise their effect on your asthma.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Sometimes these airways can constrict or develop a build up of mucous, which narrow the airway making it hard to breath in or out. Over 2.5 million people in Australia have asthma and it is more common in families who have allergies. Symptoms can include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath and can range from being quite mild to requiring hospitalisation.

What are allergies?

Around 2 in 5 people in Australia suffer from allergies. Allergies are a type of immune response where the body reacts abnormally to a substance that is usually harmless.

How do allergies affect asthma?

Allergies can worsen asthma symptoms by triggering an asthma attack. The asthma attack is usually caused by the body’s reaction to the allergen. This can lead to chest tightness, difficulty breathing and coughing.

What are the most common allergens inside the home that impact asthma?

The most common allergens that can impact asthma are pollen, dust mites, pet dander and mould.

What are the most common allergens in the garden that can impact asthma?

The most common allergens in the garden that can impact asthma are wind-pollinated plants, trees, flowers, weeds and grasses.

Deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in the winter) often release pollen just before they start to regain their leaves.

What can I do to reduce the impact of allergies on asthma?

There are a few things you can do to reduce the impact of allergies on asthma. These include:

  • Avoidance of allergens: try to avoid contact with the allergens that trigger your asthma symptoms.
  • Removing wind-pollinated plants: While it is hard to control the plants in neighbouring yards, removing these wind-pollinated plants from your back yard may help to reduce airborne pollen. Talk to your local nursery about choosing low pollen plants for inside or around your home.
  • Use of a nasal spray: if you are allergic to pollen, using a nasal spray can help to reduce the amount of pollen that enters your body
  • Taking medication: asthma medication can help to control asthma symptoms and reduce the risk of an asthma attack
  • Keeping your home clean: keeping your home clean can help to reduce the amount of dust mites, pet hair and mould in your environment. It is advised to ensure that your vacuum has a high level of filtration to ensure that minute dust particles are not released into the air as you clean.
  • Keeping an asthma attack diary – Keeping a diary of your asthma attacks is helpful to track where you were and what was in your environment at the time of your attack.

In summary

Asthma can be a very serious condition if not well managed. While asthma is not often cured, if you are experiencing frequent asthma attacks, it is important to see your GP regularly to ensure that an adequate treatment plan can be put in place.

 

If you have any further questions, or feel that you or your loved ones need medical support, please do not hesitate to contact us 07 5531 3205.

Stay safe and healthy!

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