Avoid Triggers

Being proactive is the best way to control respiratory problems

In the summertime, the rise in temperature brings increased air quality problems. That’s why Mark A. Aronica, MD, recommends that his patients pay close attention to the Air Quality Index, which is reported by the Environmental Protection Agency to alert the public when there are high levels of pollutants in the air.

“The Air Quality Index/ozone levels are usually reported in press and on TV,” Dr. Aronica says. “When the levels are elevated, they can lead to increased breathing difficulties in anyone with underlying respiratory problems.”

Patients can be proactive in other ways as well, says Dr. Aronica, who is on staff at Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute and the Lerner Research Institute’s Department of Pathobiology. He also is Assistant Professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

“The simplest advice for most allergic asthma sufferers is to avoid known triggers,” he says. Here are some of the suggestions he gives to his patients:

  • Pollen counts tend to be highest in the morning and on hot dry days, so it is best to avoid exercise outdoors when pollen counts are high.
  • Pollen counts drop after it rains, but mold spores may increase, so knowing what you are allergic to can be helpful.
  • To keep pollen out, use air conditioning rather than open windows.
  • If you have been working or have spent a lot of time outdoors, change clothes when you come in and/or shower to remove pollen.
  • Take your controller medicines regularly, even if you are feeling well.

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