Asthma, common triggers & treatments for asthma is a subject many want to know about. Board Certified Allergist,Hetu Parekh, MD of Austin Family Allergy and Asthma was interviewed on KVUE-TV in Austin, Texas in part 2 of his series on the link between allergies and asthma, triggers and treatment.
KVUE-TV: Previously, we talked about the link between allergies and asthma; and what is asthma and its’ triggers. This week, let’s talk about its treatment. So what is the treatment for asthma?
Dr. Parekh: The first step in treatment is to identify and minimize the triggers which are driving the the underlying inflammation in asthma in the first place.
The most common 5 triggers for asthma that I see in our practice at Austin Family Allergy and Asthma are:
1. Smoking. This is such a no-brainer that I don’t think I need to comment on this further.
2. Colds. practice proper hygiene and hand-washing techniques and stay away from those with colds.
3. Dust. Dust mites need a humid environment to live in, so keeping your home’s humidity to less than fifty percent is one of the most helpful things you can do. And of course regular cleaning to minimize household dust.
4. Pets. If pets and pet dander are a trigger for you, you will have to decide for yourself the next step.
5. Pollens. Pollen is the toughest to control, but there are certain things you can do to help decrease their impact.
KVUE-TV: And, what are some of those things?
1. Be conscientious about your daily pollen forecast; there are many places to check, including on KVUE’s website!
2. Avoid being outdoors in the morning. Pollen levels are typically highest in the morning and especially on windy days.
3. Consider keeping your windows closed — which shouldn’t be difficult now that it’s winter.
4. Don’t mow the lawn! Let someone else without allergies mow your lawn, if possible.
5. Take your allergy medications.
KVUE-TV: So let’s talk about asthma medications.
Dr. Parekh: With medications there are 3 main categories: controller therapy; rescue therapy; and allergy injections or allergy drops.
Not all allergy and asthma sufferers need daily controller therapy. It depends on the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor is the best person to help you with this. In general, people with persistent asthma need a daily inhaled corticosteroid. Keep in mind, this is much smaller amount than taking an oral steroid, and it is going directly to your airways. This class of medication is not fast-acting and is best at helping to control the underlying inflammation in your airways when used on a regular basis.
Rescue therapy all asthmatics need from time to time. It is used when you are having a flare up for whatever reason. And keep in mind, you might be doing the best you can to minimize your triggers, but asthma is a chronic condition and there are going to be some flare-ups here and there. The major rescue medicine we use is a bronchodilator, usually albuterol. What this does is quickly opens up your airways when they have constricted or spasmed, so you should feel better immediately.
Lastly, we know that about 80% of asthma is allergic. So these patients, allergy injections, or sometimes allergy drops, can be very useful. They help your body to not over-react when it sees an allergic trigger, and thus help to control the underlying inflammation.
KVUE-TV: Speaking of triggers, what about the upcoming Cedar season?
Dr. Parekh: Great point! If you know cedar is a trigger for you — and it is for many asthmatics in central Texas — certainly do your best in terms of avoidance, take your allergy and asthma medications and see your doctor as necessary!
To watch Dr. Parekh’s interview on KVUE-TV on this topic, CLICK HERE to view. Or watch below.