FRESNO — If you’re wheezing, coughing, and breathless, chances are you’re one of the approximately 26 million Americans suffering from asthma. In recognition of May being National Asthma Awareness Month, Baz Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center, in partnership with the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, is sharing how to identify if one’s asthma is not under control and underscoring the most effective ways to treat the potentially life-threatening disease.
The Central Valley is considered an asthma hot spot due to frequent poor air quality. According to the American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2022” report, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, Kings, and Tulare counties received failing grades for pollution across all three categories: ozone, year-round particle pollution, and short-term particle pollution. The cities of Fresno, Madera, Hanford, and Visalia ranked in the top four most polluted cities.
“It’s imperative that asthma sufferers avoid potential triggers and seek immediate care from an allergist upon worsening of asthma symptoms,” said allergist Dr. Malik Baz, Medical Director at Baz Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center. “Allergists can help improve the quality of life for asthmatic patients by creating personalized treatment plans that will result in reduced healthcare provider appointments due to sickness, fewer absences from work and/or school, and the ability to take part in more activities such as exercise.”
The following are metrics that indicate one’s asthma is not under control and that medical attention should be sought
- Experiencing asthma symptoms every day and frequently at night that limit one’s activities.
- Having a life-threatening asthma attack.
- Experiencing unusual or hard to diagnose symptoms.
- Having co-existing conditions such as allergic rhinitis or sinusitis that complicate asthma or its diagnosis.
- Being hospitalized due to asthma.
Even though asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled by seeing an allergist. Individualized treatment plans based on a patient’s lifestyle can be created and implemented to:
- Alleviate asthma symptoms even at night or after exercise; prevent the majority of asthma attacks.
- Enable participation in all activities including exercise.
- Eliminate emergency room visits and/or hospital stays.
- Reduce the need for quick-relief medicines.
- Minimize the side effects from asthma medications.
The five tips below from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health will help reduce exposure to asthma triggers including dust mites, indoor and outdoor mold, pollen, and irritants.
- Encase your mattress in a special dust-proof cover.
- On a weekly basis, wash the sheets and blankets on your bed in hot water.
- Repair leaky faucets, pipes, or other sources of water that have mold around them.
- If you’re asthmatic and vacuum your floor, use a dust mask from a hardware store, a double-layered or microfilter vacuum cleaner bag, or a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
- Consult your healthcare provider about whether you need to take or increase anti-inflammatory medicine during allergy season.
For more information about asthma and scheduling an appointment with an allergist, please visit bazallergy.com.