The striking biennial variations of asthma in Brisbane are significantly related to temperature and also with the humidity. In the six colder months, i.e May-October, the prevalence of asthma varies with the temperature one to two months earlier. It is presumed that this relation depends on the growth of grass and other vegetation, which render a substrate for the increased concentration of allergens in the air.
Respiratory medicine expert John Upham commented that Queensland was less susceptible than Australia’s southern states because of certain determinants, but alerted those in the Darling Downs against the added risk.
Although environmantal factors in Brisbane like humidity is a shielding factor against asthma, the rapid fluctuations in humidity coupled with southern thunderstorms are crucial ingredients making people falling prey to this potentially deadly disease.
Typically, asthma is a hypersensitivity condition wherein the lower respiratory passages become hyper-responsive to the otherwise harmless allergens like dust, pollen etc. Consequently, the bronchial tubes become inflamed the sticky mucus secretions increase. The typical symptoms of asthma include:
- A cough that gets worse at night.
- Wheezing or breathing sounds, as if blowing through saw dust. The sound is only audible with a stethoscope, but in adverse cases, can be heard without an aid.
- Dyspnoea or shortness of breath, worsening on lying down.
- Chest tightness, pain or feeling of pressure.
The air passages generally open up within minutes or hours, and severe episodes are rare. Some of the risk factors that may trigger an asthma attack in a patient could be:
- Exposure to smoke, air-borne allergens like pollen, dust mites, animal danders etc. Keep your system cleanesed with the effective ways to detoxify your body.
- Physical exertion or exercise.
- Strong emotions, stress and excitement.
- Viral infections, cold, flu etc.
- Certain preserved foods like shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine are also known to trigger an episode of asthma.
While the presentation of asthma varies depending upon individual susceptibility and severity of the condition, the characteristic symptoms are almost the same.
Nonetheless, seasonal allergic asthma is manageable by employing specific preventive and therapeutic modalities:
- Get vaccinated: Stay current with vaccines against influenza and pneumonia.
- Attend to the triggers: Identify the factors that initiate and worsen your condition and avoid them altogether. Using air filters and masks could help you keep the common allergens at bay.
- Don’t skip your medicines: If you have been prescribed with some drugs in anticipation of an attack, ensure that they are not missed. Talk to your doctor about altering the protocol if you observe that the medications are not adequate to regulate your symptoms.
- Monitor your breathing pattern: Early signs of an imminent attack such as wheezing, coughing, difficulty in breathing should ring the bell for you. Regularly measure and record your peak airflow with a domestic peak flow meter as the lung function dwindles much before you notice any visible signs.
- Emergency help: Keep in touch with the urgent care services around you to immediately address any warning signs such as tugging of skin at the base of the neck or ribs, a significant difficulty with speech and breathing, cough and wheeze that won’t alleviate with conventional drugs.
When it comes to tackling allergies, the adage prevention is better than cure is better followed. So, help your doctor understand your allergy and prescribe a customised treatment plan to you.