I am all about some pumpkin spice but there is a lot more to think about when the leaves start to change and autumn rolls around. With the change of season comes a change in our thinking when it comes to the elements outside.
Many lung patients look forward to seeing the leaves change color and all the beauty as Mother Nature puts on her show, but when the leaves fall there is leaf mold. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, “Mold spores get into your nose and cause hay fever symptoms. They also can reach the lungs and trigger asthma. A chemical released by allergy cells in the nose and or lungs causes the symptoms. Sometimes the reaction happens right away. Sometimes a mold allergy can cause delayed symptoms, leading to nasal congestion or worsening asthma over time. Rarely, some patients can have a more serious illness called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. In this condition, there is both an allergic and an inflammatory response to the mold. Symptoms may include severe wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath, much like asthma.”
If you have a lung diagnosis, you must prevent your exposure to what can potentially cause a flare up with your breathing condition. So here’s what you should do if you need to clear your yard of fallen leaves.
1. Pretreat your lungs by using your short acting bronchodilator often referred to as your rescue inhaler. Have this inhaler handy if you feel you need a follow-up dose.
2. Take precautions and if you must rake the leaves then wear a light weight mask. The mask will help prevent spores floating in the air from getting into your airways and irritating them.
3. Take a break – pace yourself while raking the leaves. Take breaks as needed to rest and recover any breathlessness that might have occurred.
4. Hydrate – Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Cool may not be comfortable
After a hot summer my patients are excited to see the heat and humidity dissipate as the cool fall air comes in. If cool dry air seems to cause you to have shortness of breath, you may want to combat that by wearing a light weight scarf to hold loosely over your mouth and nose when outside.
Get your flu shot
Autumn is also the time when we need to start thinking of making our way to get our annual flu shot. Colds and Flu seem to run rampant as the weather get colder and people are spending more time indoors. Wash your hands regularly to help prevent the spread of viruses.
What other things do you tend to do in Autumn to protect your lungs?