Seasonal asthma: should it be managed differently?
Triggers for asthma symptoms can alter during the course of the year. Beverley Bostock evaluates the management of seasonal asthma
Asthma is an inflammatory condition, which is usually associated with an allergic trigger and response. Seasonal changes can influence asthma morbidity and mortality. The aim of asthma management is to optimise symptom control by impacting on the inflammatory cascade and, where possible, avoidance of known allergens. Triggers for asthma symptoms can alter during the course of the year as weather and airborne allergens change with the seasons. People living with seasonal allergic asthma should be taught to recognise their own triggers for their asthma symptoms and should be offered personalised, tailored advice, medication and action plans to proactively manage their asthma, optimise symptom control and prevent exacerbations.
Asthma is an inflammatory condition that affects approximately 12% of the population, or 8 million people, some of whom may be asymptomatic and off treatment. However, at any given time, around 5.4 million people are receiving treatment for asthma (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2021). The diagnosis is made when a patient presents with typical symptoms of a cough, wheezing, tight chest and/or shortness of breath, along with other key elements such as a family history of asthma or a personal or family history of atopy, the presence of triggers and evidence of variable airflow obstruction which reverses with treatment (British Thoracic Society/Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (BTS/SIGN), 2019). The variability in symptoms can be evident in different ways – through the episodic nature of the symptoms, diurnal variation (symptoms are often worse during the night or in the early morning) or through seasonal changes (Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), 2021).
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