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Asthma

Avoiding Asthma Triggers

11/16/2006

Question:

My daughter is 5 years old and her asthma is pretty bad. In the process of buying her a coat I did not notice it is down filled.Is this going to cause more harm than good? Will this be a trigger?

her meds are: Singular Zyrtec Advair 100 (for the past 4 months) prior to the Advair was Pulmacort 2x a day

Answer:

I discussed your question with an allergist I work with often. There are (very rarely) people who have allergies to feathers. If you know that your child is one of them, then the down coat may be a problem. (Down comforters are another story - they tend to accumulate lots of dust - and dust mites - which MANY people are allergic too. That's why allergists usually tell their allergy-prone patients to avoid them.)

The thing about cold weather that tends to bother some folks with asthma isn't so much that their bodies get chilled. It's that the airways get irritated by the cold, dry air they suddenly get exposed to when the child steps outside on a really cold day. Keeping the mouth and nose covered with a scarf - which helps keep warmer, moister air nearby - can help.

On a side note, if your child's asthma is still "pretty bad" on her current medicines, be sure to let your doctor know. Especially if she is using the "purple disk" form of ADVAIR, one of the first things to check will be whether she is inhaling the medication correctly. (Blowing air out first, before putting the inhaler to her mouth; not tipping the device once it's loaded - there are all kinds of tricks to using this medicine correctly.) Correct inhaler technique is REALLY important, and especially a challenge for a 5 year old - so it may take several "training sessions" to get it exactly right. The best medicines for asthma come in inhalers, though - it's worth the effort.

For more information:

Go to the Asthma health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Elizabeth D Allen, MD Elizabeth D Allen, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University