Millions of patients are afflicted with asthma every year. With growing pollution and other environmental and lifestyle factors, the problem is only getting worse. Here are some asthma triggers and how you can prevent asthma attacks.

Asthma triggers
Depending on your condition, there are many triggers that could lead to an asthma attack. It Is important to remember that your triggers may not be the same as everyone else’s.
• Airborne particle: Dust, pollen, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste.
• Respiratory infections: common cold or cough
• Physical activity: This includes exercise or even everyday activities like stair climbing.
• Cold air: Draft from air conditioners, cold air from windows in moving cars could be a trigger.
• Air pollutants and irritants: Smoke, dust particles, even smoke from tobacco and sheeshas.
• Certain medications could lead to asthmatic attacks.
• Episodes of stress or emotional moments.
• Certain food additives including colours and preservatives.

Dr Nimish Shah, Consultant Respiratory Medicine, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre explains, “The commonest reason for asthma attacks is non-compliance with treatment. Patients often forget that asthma is a treatable disease not a curable one. Once patients feel better, they tend to stop using medication which commonly results in an asthma attack. The importance of medication and medication compliance is paramount. Also, regular follow up visits with your doctor is a must to adjust your medication and doses.”

It is very important to avoid triggers. Dr Nimihsa says, “People who are allergic to dust should avoid direct exposure and if they do get exposed, make sure your emergency/SOS medication list has been obtained from your doctor. First hand and passive smoking must be avoided where applicable. Treat infections promptly and don’t let upper respiratory infections complicate into lower respiratory infections. Have a list of medications which don’t suit you or are you are allergic to handy, in case of an emergency. Moderate to severe asthmatics should have pneumonia and flu vaccination.”