Most people with asthma can agree that their symptoms worsen in the spring.
You could say there is just something in the air.
The main reason asthma flares up in the spring is due to airborne allergens such as ryegrass pollen.
Professor Nick Zwar, chairman of the National Asthma Council guidelines committee and general practitioner, said The new daily these airborne allergens can trigger both allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma symptoms.
The two go hand in hand, as at least three in four people with asthma also suffer from hay fever.
Watch out for windy days
To avoid a flare-up during the warmer months, Dr Zwar advised people to avoid going out on windy days when pollen counts are high.
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“If you are out on a windy day and have asthma symptoms, take a shower and wash your hair, as sometimes the pollen can get caught in your hair,” Dr Zwar said.
“Also change your pillowcase quite often, because if pollen falls on you overnight, you roll around in it.”
Dr Zwar’s key message is to use your preventer regularly.
Take your preventer
Dr Mark Morgan, Professor of General Medicine at Bond University and Chairman of the RACGP Expert Panel for Quality Care, said The new daily that if you are on preventive treatment, you are much less likely to make your asthma worse.
“Therefore, you are in a much safer position than someone who is just using an asthma pain reliever,” he said.
In comparison, Dr Morgan explained that an asthma medication only works by relaxing the air tubes. They don’t get rid of the redness and swelling.
“Rescuers only do half the job,” he said.
Having said that, you can’t use a preventative like a lifter.
Not a quick fix
Nigel Cooper, acting managing director of programs at Asthma Australia, said prevention devices can take between three and six weeks to take effect.
“What the preventer does is really work on the inflammation and swelling of the airways, so it’s not instant relief,” he explained.
“They actually have to work at a constant level to ease inflammation and reduce the amount of mucus that is blocking the airways.”
Mr Cooper also recommended seeing your GP to update your asthma action plan, especially if you haven’t seen a GP for some time due to COVID-19.
“Make sure you are taking the right medicine, in the right dose, that you take it at the right time and in the right way,” he said.
It is really important to make sure that the technique of your device is correct.
Think about spacers
For those who use the commonly used metered dose inhaler, Mr. Cooper recommends that you use a spacer.
A spacer is a plastic cylinder with a mouthpiece on one end and an inhaler hole on the other.
Children with asthma use spacers because they make it easier to coordinate inspiration and pressure on the inhaler.
“When you put the pump in your mouth and spray it on, most of it goes to the back of your throat, so you swallow it instead of inhaling,” Cooper said.
“So spacers greatly increase the efficiency of the pumps. “
Mr Cooper said it’s worth talking to your pharmacist or GP to make sure you’re using your inhaler correctly.