One of the scariest things that can happen is coughing so hard you wonder if you will actually ever be able to get a breath in. Asthma can produce this sort of cough. Preventing it from ever occurring again becomes a priority after an attack that severe. Not letting it get that bad to begin with is an even better approach.
Triggers: Asthma triggers can be very individual. There are also some that are fairly common. One of the first steps after a diagnosis of asthma is to find out what triggers attacks. That way you can avoid most of them.
This can be somewhat socially awkward. A child who is allergic to peanuts can be bullied by children who don’t understand that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could be deadly. Those allergic to pine have to find out if any Christmas trees are present and what type of tree it is. There are also hidden allergens…unreported items in packaged foods or a treat handed out by an unsuspecting host/hostess.
Air Filters: Some allergens are airborne rather than food borne. Pollution, smoke from brush or forest fires and pollen can trigger an attack. Filtering them out of the air can work in preventing an attack. There are special filters for air conditioners or you can purchase a room air purifier. Before buying, make sure the product will do what it claims.
Humidifiers…or not: While it’s a known fact that cold, dry air causes asthma attacks, scientists are only now delving into the effects of hot, humid air. That, too, triggers attacks. This makes indoor climate control important. If it’s cold and dry, a humidifier may help. If it’s hot and humid a dehumidifier may be necessary.
Allergy Shots: Since many asthma attacks are caused by an allergic reaction, allergy shots may benefit some asthmatics. The shots have a high rate of success but cannot be given when asthma is bad. As they have to be done on a schedule this might be a drawback. The good news is that shot induced asthma attacks and fatalities are rare.
Medication: Oral and inhaled medications can be used to prevent asthma attacks. Maintenance inhalers are available and work. These inhalers can cause yeast infections in the mouth and throat, especially if they aren’t used correctly or properly cleaned after use.
The best thing to do is talk to your doctor about asthma. The doctor will ask questions about how it affects your life, how often you have asthma attacks and what your known triggers are. The doctor may suggest allergy testing and/or send you to a specialist. That way you can maximize the opportunity to avoid asthma attacks.