HeadWise HeadWise: Volume 6, Issue 2 - Page 19

not smoking in their child’s presence) 5. Exposure to exhaust fumes or other forms of pollution 6. Exposure to workplace triggers, in- cluding chemicals used in farming, hairdressing, and manufacturing Treatment Some asthma attacks are situational and are defined by the trigger: 1. Exercise-induced asthma – these attacks may be ex- acerbated by cold air and/or dry winds, or sudden changes in weather. 2. Occupational asthma – these attacks are related to workplace irritants (chemical fumes, gases, or dust). 3. Allergy-induced asthma – these attacks are caused by known triggers (pollen, mold, etc). Who is Likely to Develop Asthma? A number of factors may increase your chances of de- veloping asthma, including have a blood relative (parent or sibling) with a history of asthma. Other precipitating factors include: 1. A different allergic condition such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or atopic dermatitis (eczema). 2. Being overweight 3. Smoking tobacco products 4. Exposure to secondhand smoke (parents who smoke should consider ceasing the habit or First, the diagnosis needs to be established. Asthma may be difficult to detect, particularly in children, age 5 or less. During your evaluation with a physician, you will be asked if you cough frequently, especially at night. The physician will also ask if your breathing problems occur after physical activity, including exercise, or at certain times of the year. You will be questioned about a family history of asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems. The physician will discuss the possibility of triggers at your home (pets) or your occupation. To evaluate your lung function, the physician will order a breathing test (spirometry). Using a computer with a mouthpiece, the test determines how much air you can breathe out after taking a deep breath. This test can also measure your airflow before and after using asthma medication. Similar to migraine, identifying and avoiding triggers will be of great benefit. Avoidance methods include the use of an air conditioner which decreases the amount of airborne pollen, reduces indoor humidity, and can lower exposure to dust mites. If you do not have an air condi- tioner, your windows should remain shut during pollen season. Minimizing dust in your home should decrease symptoms during the nighttime. In your bedroom, your pillows, mattresses, and box springs, should be encased in dust-proof covers. Hardwood floors or linoleum flooring should replace carpeting. In a damp climate, your physician may recommend the use of a dehumidi- fier. It is important to avoid the development of mold spores in your bathroom, kitchen, basement, and around the house. Moldy leaves and damp firewood should be removed from your yard. If you want a pet, you should avoid animals with fur or feathers. Reducing the amount of pet dander is essential. When you are cleaning your house, you should consider wearing a mask to minimize exposure to dust and other irritants. Finally, when it is cold and dry outside, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf or face mask. www.headaches.org | National Headache Foundation 19