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Air Pollution and Asthma

Posted on September 30, 2014
by Wendy Stackhouse

People with asthma have good days and bad days. They keep an inhaler handy and try to avoid the allergens that can trigger an attack. After all, asthma can be fatal. But is there more they can do?

We know there are a lot of asthma triggers in our environment:

  • Dust and dust mites
  • VOC’s from paint, varnish, furniture, carpeting
  • Chemicals from cleaning products
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Perfume
  • Air freshener
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Mold spores

A new study has found that the environment itself could also be a culprit–air pollution can worsen asthma symptoms.

Improving Asthma Symptoms with Lifestyle Changes

Experts from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommend that you analyze your lifestyle in light of exposure to air pollution to improve your asthma symptoms:

Where do you exercise? If you run or bike, see if you can change your usual route to one with less car traffic and exposure to car exhaust. If you bike to work, there might be a better way to get there. Working out indoors exposes you the least.

When do you exercise? Time of day and temperature can make a big difference in how much air pollution is affecting you. Early morning is the best time to work out for air quality. The second best is after sunset.

Monitor the air quality–If you can make choices that keep you indoors on poor air quality days, it might make a big difference to your asthma. Before you decide what to do, check AirNow for real time air quality in your zip code.

Having asthma isn’t easy, but your choices can be the difference between a good day and a bad one.

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