Do you find yourself sneezing and experiencing watery eyes especially when the weather gets windy?
Do you find yourself becoming itchy when you come into contact with pets?
If you also suffer from asthma you will find that your airways become extra sensitive to certain allergens and you might suffer an asthma attack as well.
There are many allergens that can cause reactions in people with asthma. These include windy weather, contact with animal dander and saliva, pollens, mould spores or fragments, dust mite and cockroach faeces. So, what happens in the body when you come into contact with these allergens? Your immune systems job is to protect you from bacteria and viruses. Once these allergens get into your body, your immune system overreacts to these normally harmless substances. These substances get into your nose, lungs, eyes and under your skin. Your body makes a chemical called IgE antibodies. They cause the release of chemicals like histamine, which cause swelling and inflammation. This creates symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. In people that also suffer from asthma the muscles around your airways tighten, the airways become inflamed and over time are filled with a thick mucous making it difficult for you to breathe properly.
Other symptoms you might experience are:
* Cough particularly at night or in the early morning
* Be short of breath or breathe quickly
* Feel your chest get tight
* Watery or itchy eyes
Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma with about 90% of children with childhood asthma having allergies, compared with 50% of adults. If you have asthma (allergic or non-allergic), it usually gets worse after you exercise in cold air or after breathing smoke, dust, or fumes. Sometimes even a strong smell can set it off.
To control your allergic asthma, you must try and avoid breathing in or being exposed to the allergens.
Here are some tips to get relief:
* Stay inside when pollen counts are high and keep the windows closed.
* Avoid dust mites. These little critters live in fabrics and carpets. Buy allergen-proof covers for your pillows and mattresses. Wash your sheets and other bedding once a week in hot water. Minimise dust-collecting household items such as carpets and curtains. Hard wood floors are better than carpets. Regularly wash soft toys, cushions etc.
* Check for pet allergies. Keep them outdoors or at the very least, ban all pets from the bedroom.
* Avoid damp or mouldy housing conditions. Keep your kitchen and bathroom clean and dry to prevent mould and cockroaches. Use exhaust fans and open windows when you can and is safe to do so.
* Be careful when working outside. Gardening and raking can stir up pollens and mould. Wear a mask while outside to reduce the amount of pollen and mould particles that get into your lungs.
* Reduce exposure to cigarette smoke. Reduce chemical, irritant and pollution exposure.
Here are some tips to keep you healthy.
* Exercise is important to keep healthy, fit and to support lung function and moderate exercise helps to prevent asthmatic symptoms generally.
* Ensure a diet rich in phytonutrients from fruit and vegetables; low in sugars and refined carbohydrates and ensure adequate amounts of protein and good fats. Remove artificial additives, colourings and flavours from the diet.
* Check for any food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances and remove from the diet. Address any nutrient deficiencies with the help of your naturopath.
Nicole Haak is an experienced Melbourne Naturopath whose gentle approach and warm nature enable her to be an empathetic and supportive practitioner who takes a genuine interest in her clients’ needs. She has a deep passion for what she does. This is evident by her holistic approach to helping her patients find solutions to their health concerns and improve their quality of life.