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Summer tips for those with asthma

Hospital news | Friday, July 6, 2012
“Asthma shouldn’t keep you from doing what you want this summer,” states Laurie Fritz, Director of Respiratory Therapy at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital. “With proper medical treatment, most asthma patients can live active, productive lives. Patients and their healthcare provider can create an asthma plan that helps keep their asthma under control.”

The Respiratory Therapy staff reminds area residents that summer raises the level of seasonal asthma triggers: higher humidity combined with hotter temperatures; increased smog and air pollution; pollen from grass, weeds, trees and flowers at the highest level; increased mold growth due to higher humidity; and increased indoor dust mite counts due to higher humidity.

What you can do to take control? Here’s a few tips: keep allergies under control as uncontrolled allergies can lead to asthma flare-upd; take daily, controller asthma medicines as prescribed; keep rescue inhalers close at hand; watch weather reports for humidity levels and pollen counts; don't play on or around freshly cut grass; wear gloves and a filtered mask when gardening; use air conditioning to help lower indoor humidity - dust mites don't like it cool; and clean air conditioner filters regularly. Dirty filters become a source for dust and mold; ceiling fans can help, but be sure to clean the dust from blades with a damp cloth; use an indoor air filter/purifier; use a dampened cloth when dusting furniture; and close house and car windows and turn on the air conditioning when pollen and humidity are high.
Traveling tips for those with asthma: place all medicine in your carry-on bag including rescue inhaler, never pack medicine in checked baggage as it may not arrive at your destination when you do! Remember to carry a written asthma action plan with you and pack a copy in your suitcase. It is also important to take your peak flow meter and check levels daily. Remember to request non-smoking rooms/floors of hotels; better yet, only book stays as smoke free hotels. If you are visiting relatives or friends, find out if anyone smokes or owns pets; you may want to consider a hotel instead. Get the weather report ahead of time for the area you will be visiting, including ozone, smog and pollen levels.

For additional information, contact PDC Memorial Hospital’s Respiratory Therapy Department at (608) 357-2000.