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Essential Tips for Managing Asthma on Poor Air Quality Days

The smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning in Canada, which has already blanketed sections of the US and placed around 75 million people under air quality advisories, got as far as Norway last month. When you inhale minute particles of smoke from a wildfire, it can induce lung irritation and inflammation, resulting in coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Living with asthma on these days of low air quality is not easy. Pollution and allergens in the air can aggravate asthma symptoms, causing breathing difficulty and discomfort. Individuals with asthma, with adequate management and precautionary measures, can still navigate through low air quality days while reducing the impact on their respiratory health. 

  • Stay informed and monitor air quality:
    To stay up to current on pollution levels, check local air quality indices or use mobile apps. Pay attention to local authorities air quality alerts or warnings.
  • Limit outside activities:
    If the air quality is poor, try to spend as little time as possible outside. Plan outdoor activities on days with higher air quality.
  • Create a safe indoor environment:
    • Closing windows and doors are essential to keep outdoor toxins out of your home.
    • To eliminate airborne particles and enhance indoor air quality, use air purifiers with HEPA filters.
    • Avoid using air fresheners that have strong scents or include ingredients that can aggravate asthma symptoms.
  • Use preventive medications:
    • Take your asthma drugs on a regular basis, including any controller medications.
    • Follow your asthma action plan and contact with your healthcare practitioner if any adjustments are required on days with poor air quality.
  • Wear a mask:
    • When going outside, consider using an N-95 mask specifically designed to filter out pollutants, especially during high-pollution periods.
  • Create a clean and allergen-free environment:
    • Dust and vacuum your home on a regular basis to keep dust mites and allergens at bay.
    • You may be wondering if opening the windows helps to eliminate dust. The truth is that it frequently does the opposite. Opening windows can lead to an increase in dust in your home! Dust consists of any waste particles that are small enough to be taken up by the wind. When you open your windows, you let the dust from the outdoors enter your home.
  • Practice proper self-care:
    • Stay hydrated by drinking water, this keeps your airways moist.
    • Use deep breathing or relaxation exercises to help manage stress , which can aggravate asthma symptoms.

Managing asthma on days with poor air quality necessitates being proactive and paying close attention to your environment. Individuals with asthma can effectively navigate challenging air quality situations while prioritizing their respiratory health by staying informed, reducing exposure to pollutants, and following a complete asthma treatment strategy. Check-in with your healthcare provider if your condition worsens or if you have questions.