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Seasonal Asthma Triggers Throughout the Year

Summer is my favorite time of year, yet I am always relieved when it is over. I live at the beach on the southern coast of New Jersey. Summers are hot and humid. My summer routine is filled with checking weather conditions, following air quality reports and managing my health.

Having multiple diagnoses that impact my breathing make my summer days a bit challenging. Because my body works so hard to breathe, I’m often exhausted and run down, making it difficult to be active even on days when the conditions are ideal. Asthma, in particular, casts its heavy shadow over me all summer long. But summer is not the only culprit in my asthma story. As I leave summer behind, I tread forward very cautiously.

Seasonal asthma triggers from summer to fall

The next several months provide their own unique challenges that prevail over me until I’m right back to summer again. I manage asthma all summer long and look forward to the more mild autumn weather. Alas, autumn presents asthma problems of its own. It happens to be my most allergic season, thus adding additional steps to my routine.

Temperature changes and scents

Taking more allergy meds, checking local allergy reports, and keeping track of the ever-fluctuating temperatures all become part of my daily activity. And for good measure, let’s add on the scents that loom this time of year. Cinnamon. I love the flavor of cinnamon. The overuse of the cinnamon fragrance found in candles and decorative pine cones tightens my chest with one tiny whiff.

The flu

Burning leaves, bonfires, oh my; an asthma attack waiting just for me. Tack on the beginning of flu season and we have a recipe for possible disaster. We all know what the flu does to us. As I am trying to manage my exposure to all of these ever-changing and unpredictable seasonal asthma triggers I am supposed to exercise, stay healthy, keep my breathing under control, AND live my life. Just when I have all of that under control, we usher in winter.

Seasonal asthma triggers from fall to winter

Winter and the holiday season. Christmas trees, more scented candles, regular candles, roaring fires, freezing temperatures and full-blown flu season. The smoke from fires and candles of any kind make me feel like someone has tied a knot in my airway. I have to be careful about the food I eat too. That’s a problem all year long.

Holiday asthma triggers

But holiday time is particularly challenging. You know, parties, undefined foods. A tiny cookie crumb can stimulate my hypersensitive airway and trigger an asthma attack; the same with spicy food, or particularly pungent food or anything that might irritate my very angry airway or my very angry vocal cords. Not to mention, I’m working with only one healthy lung. Then we have the freezing temperatures that make it feel like razors are going into my airway rather than air. Fun times.

More flu season

Again, a whole new level of asthma control comes into play. I have my flu shot every year. There are strains of flu out there that we aren’t protected from by having the flu shot. I know this because I still get the flu every year. I have been getting the flu shot since I was diagnosed with asthma and lung cancer. Some years worse than others, but every year without fail, I have had the flu. I hope each year that it won’t happen.

I take every precaution possible. I avoid crowds, I stay away from anyone with a cold, or any contagious illness. I wash my hands until they are raw and chapped, I don’t touch my face. You name it, I do it. I still get the flu. We all know what the flu does to people with asthma. Still, I manage all of this AND live my life.

Wrapping back around to spring and summer

Winter will be behind me and soon enough spring and summer will be back to warm my soul and exasperate my asthma. I think there are quite a few of us with asthma that get no relief from the changing seasons. Each season presents its own variety of challenges. It is up to us to manage each and every challenge so that we can stay healthy and enjoy the beautiful aspects of each season. Of course, there are all the seasonal asthma triggers that we simply cannot control, and so we all have our setbacks.

The most important part of being an asthma patient is to advocate for ourselves, and do all we can to avoid setbacks. It is important for us to deal with our daily challenges AND continue to live our lives to the absolute fullest.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator
    1 week ago

    Hi. Patti. This is a very well articulated article. Very descriptive of the challenges we face as we journey through the seasons. Definitely looking forward to reading your future posts. All the best. John. Site Moderator.

  • rjmoon
    2 weeks ago

    I know what you mean about the cinnamon smell! I had an actual asthma attack, my first in a long time, last weekend. I had an awful reaction to a bunch of scented Christmas stuff in a craft store. Almost instantly, I started to sneeze and cough and even though I left the area immediately, it wasn’t enough. I was coughing so uncontrollably I couldn’t even get a real puff from my inhaler at first. Luckily I had a spacer and managed to avoid an ER visit. Today is the first day since that I haven’t woken up coughing. In the future I’ll definitely be more conscious of that kind of thing when I’m out and about.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Hi rjmoon, and thanks for joining in the conversation here. We appreciate you sharing your recent experience with this personal trigger episode. So glad to hear you were able to avoid a visit to the ER and were able to manage this event on your own successfully.
    We appreciate your input here. All the best, Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

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