Gearing Up for the Holidays with Asthma
The holidays can be stressful for anyone - especially for the millions of Americans living with asthma
(December 5, 2017) - Baltimore, MD
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While the holidays are stressful for everyone, those with chronic lung diseases like asthma must take extra precaution when planning their holiday fun. "While there is no cure for asthma, it can be managed and treated so that those with asthma can live normal and healthy lives," said Deborah P. Brown, Executive Vice President, American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. "But large events outside of your normal routine – like the holidays – can trigger asthma symptoms through a variety of activities like traveling, different sleeping environments and holiday activities like sitting around the fireplace."
To help alleviate holiday anxiety, the American Lung Association has put together a list of holiday tips for the more than half a million Maryland residents who live with asthma.
Medication Precautions. If traveling far from home, make sure to remember to bring an extra written prescription in case asthma medication is lost or destroyed, and insurance card and health care provider contact information in case of an emergency.
- Traveling with Medication. Whether traveling by car, train, boat or plane, keep quick-relief and controller medications in a carry-on for ease of use if travel plans are delayed or a change in environment causes asthma symptoms.
- Smokefree Environments. If staying with family or friends over the holidays, ask to stay with those who don’t smoke. If a smokefree home is not available, choose a hotel that is completely smokefree. Cigarette and cigar smoke can travel through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines, plumbing, and ventilation systems, and cause asthma flare-ups.
- Fireplaces & Candles. Gathering around the wood-burning fireplace may be part of the season, but the smoke can trigger an asthma episode. And scented candles have the double-whammy of extra smoke in the home as well as strong odors that can cause asthma symptoms. To feel the glow of the season, go faux and enjoy electric fireplaces and candles that flicker with the help of a battery.
- Bedding. Bring a special pillowcase or mattress cover to reduce dust mite exposure. Hypoallergenic “sleep sacks” are designed to use when staying in hotels to protect those with asthma from allergens.
- Managing Stress. With all this and more, the emotions of the holidays alone can aggravate asthma symptoms. Stress, excitement, anger, crying, and even laughing really hard can trigger an asthma episode. Practice deep breathing to help reduce stress and excitement, and try to stick to a regular exercise routine, eat healthy and get plenty of rest.
To learn more about asthma, or for a refresher course, take the American Lung Association's free online learning course Asthma Basics. In this self-paced learning tool, Asthma Basics covers asthma triggers and how to identify and reduce them, action plans when flare-ups do happen, how to respond to a breathing emergency, asthma medication tutorials, and an asthma management plan template. Available at Lung.org/asthma-basics, this online course is ideal for everyone from healthcare professionals to school nurses and parents, those suffering from asthma themselves, and even extended family and friends.
For members of the media who wish to speak with an expert resource about asthma and its treatment, contact Ewa Dworakowski at Ewa.Dworakowski@Lung.org. More asthma information and resources can also be accessed through the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA or online at Lung.org/asthma
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.