Asthma cannot be prevented, but attacks can be avoided at a time when cold air and environmental agents can trigger them more often.
Autumn not only comes with the increase in cold and changes in temperature. At this time, a significant number of allergens also proliferate, which intensify the symptoms of respiratory diseases such as allergies or asthma. In the case of the latter, cold air, pollution, dust in suspension, mites and respiratory viruses are the main triggers of crises that can be mild or severe. But can they be prevented?
“Asthma is a chronic disease in which the airways become inflamed and narrow, causing an increase in mucus and great difficulty breathing. Unfortunately, the disease cannot be avoided, but we can develop preventive and care behaviors that avoid generating crises, or asthma exacerbations, especially at this time of year”, says Magdalena Galarce, clinical and pharmaceutical services doctor at Farmacias Ahumada .
Galarce indicates that, although it is not a seasonal disease, it can be intensified in autumn and spring due to environmental conditions, making early diagnosis essential and keeping it under control with a specialist, with the appropriate medication and adherence to treatment to avoid complications. It is estimated that in Chile between 7% and 10% of the population has asthma, although this percentage could be higher since it is possible that there is an underdiagnosis of the disease, according to the Chilean Society of Respiratory Diseases. “Without a doubt, that is the first and most important piece of advice,” he says.
In addition, it is important to take measures at home such as avoiding objects that accumulate dust or are difficult to clean to avoid mites, such as carpets, stuffed animals or books. For the doctor, “maintaining cleanliness in these areas is essential, including floors and walls, along with a vacuum cleaner with a water tank or HEPA filter, to avoid raising dust that remains in suspension.”
It will also help to use anti-mite mattresses or covers of this type and down that are not feathers, along with changing and washing sheets and blankets frequently. Ventilate the house during the first hours of the morning and use electric heating systems, which do not have the flame in an open chamber. “These consume more oxygen and contaminate the interior of the house, inflaming or irritating the respiratory tract. Together with air humidifiers, they are a breeding ground for viral or bacterial infections”, says Galarce. Finally, it is key to avoid cold air and polluted environments, which not only include that they are free of tobacco smoke, but also of some chemicals or spray cleaning products.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 300 million people in the world suffer from asthma and it caused the death of more than 450 thousand deaths during 2019. In our country, the latest National Health Survey positions it as the sixth most frequent disease, so it is essential to take the necessary measures to avoid complications.
“In some cases, this disease only causes minor discomfort, but for others it can be considerable and, in extreme cases, it can cause the death of a patient if it is not treated in time. If there is pain or tightness in the chest, wheezing, coughing at night or in the morning, or any type of difficulty breathing, it is best to see a doctor to diagnose or rule out this disease, “concludes the specialist.
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Can autumn asthma be prevented? | Digital medium The Northern Fox
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