Acute Asthma Exacerbation

Have you experienced shortness of breath simultaneously with a tight pain in your chest? If so, you’ve probably experienced an acute asthma exacerbation. This is a fancy way to say ‘asthma attack.’

So what is happening in your body when you have an asthma attack? Well, your airways become swollen, your muscles contract and your bronchial tubes get narrow. This situation is not one to be taken lightly. Acute asthma exacerbation can be life-threatening, so we recommend you come see us.

The symptoms and severity of asthma attacks vary from person to person. An individual can experience wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and/or shortness of breath. Acute asthma exacerbations also vary in length. Some attacks can last for one minute while others can last for hours.

There is a wide range of options that can cause an asthma attack. Some common triggers are upper respiratory infections, colds, pollen, mold, dust mites, pets, tobacco smoke, cold/dry air, exercise and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Sometimes it can be a combination of these factors.

If these symptoms sound familiar to you, we advise that you come in to get some tests done! It is important to learn how to treat an attack when it comes since it does have the potential to be life-threatening.

Understanding Pollen Counts

The term pollen count (or mold count) is very common and you’ve probably seen this on the news: “ pollen count today ”. But what exactly is a pollen count and how does it related to your allergies?

Pollen counts aren’t exactly ‘counts’. They are, more so, forecasts that give an estimate of how much pollen is in the air. The pollen is divided into categories of tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen. They are associated with specific numbers in addition to the levels high, medium and low.

Some reports go into more detail about which specific pollens are in the air, such as oak tree or ragweed.

Many people think that if a pollen count is high, they will experience a high level of allergy symptoms that day. But that is not always the case. There are too many variables to be able to say that for sure.

One of the first variables lies in the way the pollen counts are obtained. Most pollen counters are placed on tall buildings and they collect samples of pollen from the air. These samples are examined under a microscope and counted. The results are then extrapolated to make an estimate of how much pollen is in the air.

It is important to note that the levels of pollen (high, medium or low) are reported based on averages of pollen collected over the years. Also, these counts are not full-proof due to factors such as time of day collected, weather changes, and the area from which the pollen was collected.

Other factors that affect pollen counts include the types of local plants in the area where the pollen was collected and the fact that the types and amounts of pollen collected change over the course of a day and from day to day.

Lastly, what these counts mean to allergy sufferers can differ. For one person, a high pollen count of ragweed could cause severe allergy symptoms and for another person, it could cause only mild symptom. This just depends on how allergic a person is to the pollen in question.

Now when you see “ pollen count today ” on the news, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about. Pollen counts can be helpful if you know what you’re allergic to and what reactions you have at the different levels. Find out today’s pollen count on our website or come in and find out what you’re allergic to!