Love is in the air, and so is your asthma! Though it may not be romantic, people with asthma need to consider how dating and being intimate may exacerbate their symptoms. We spoke with Barbara Kaplan, National Director of Asthma at the American Lung Association, about how to avoid these asthma triggers so that you and your loved one can have a stress-free romance. Here are some tips for being passionate without triggering your asthma:
- Pre-medicate. Every person with asthma has a different course of treatment. If you have a long-term controller medication, you should be taking this as prescribed, usually every day. Sex and intimacy can increase heart rate, change the rate of your breath, and evoke strong emotions; all of which can trigger asthma symptoms. So for some people, especially if you have exercise-induced asthma, taking your quick-relief inhaler before getting physical can keep you active longer. You should talk to your healthcare provider about the best plan for you. Learn more about the different types of medications and when and how to best use them.
- Communicate. It is important to communicate with your partner and let them know if being intimate can cause an asthma flare up. Talk to your partner about your asthma and make a plan for managing symptoms during physical activity. You can also experiment with new positions that won't leave you gasping for air. The spooning position is a great one to start with, but there are others to try! The key is to keep pressure off your chest.
- Pay attention to the environment. Dust, for instance, is a common asthma trigger so make sure your love nest is well ventilated by using air conditioning or a HEPA filter to keep pollutants out of the air.
- Pets stay out. Speaking of love nests, if furry or feathered pets cause you to have asthma symptoms, keep them out of the bedroom. Washing your linens weekly in hot water can help you reduce exposure to animal dander, saliva, dust and dust mites.
- Reduce scents. Say goodbye to scents that can irritate your lungs, like perfumes, candles, and oils. Try using battery-operated candles and music to create a romantic mood instead.
- Don’t get stressed out. Stress itself can trigger flare ups. So, if you need a break, take one. Take your time, rest and catch your breath, it's all part of the fun. Keep your quick-relief inhaler nearby to use as soon as symptoms start.
- Ask for help. If you continue to have problems, it may be a sign that your asthma is not well managed, and it may be time to talk to your healthcare provider about a different path of treatment. Learn more about Asthma Control by taking the My Asthma Control Assessment on Lung.org.
Remember, every person is different and what triggers asthma in one person may not in another. So, have a heart-to-heart with your doctor about your specific needs and concerns related to your asthma and sexual activity. In addition, treat your lungs with some love by taking Asthma Basics.
Blog last updated: February 28, 2023