Why asthma symptoms can increase in the spring

May 4, 2023, 8:01 PM

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — Spring is known for allergies, but it can also increase asthma symptoms.

Dr. Stephen Boden, an allergist at Intermountain Health, said it’s common in most asthma patients.

“We definitely can see increases in asthma as the seasons change, both with the weather changing as well as the increased pollen counts from different plants,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people with asthma is increasing each year. The CDC said about one in every 12 people has asthma in the United States but there are a lot of different treatment options like medication, steroids and inhalers.

“It’s actually a really good time to have asthma compared to when I was a child, there were very few treatment options. Today, there are a multitude of treatment options,” Boden said.

Boden said that asthma severity is different for each person, but the most common symptoms are coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

He said that asthma is more common in children, but adults can also be diagnosed with asthma later in life.

“As an adult, it will happen sometime between age 20 and about age 55 or 60,”  Boden said. “Often, if it’s later than that, it might be something else, and not necessarily asthma, but still would require evaluation.”

Four-year-old Alden was diagnosed with asthma last year.

“I thought that he was always catching something, but it took me a while to realize that even when he was healthy, he still had a cough,” said Madi Nield, Alden’s mom.

Nield said Alden’s usually mild asthma has been worse since spring started.

“When you mix the asthma and the allergies it can get really scary,” Nield said. “He’s been having this wheezing and a deep barking cough, and normally the asthma is a non-issue.”

Playing outside is typically an easy activity for Alden.

But his mom said he takes medication for his asthma daily to help with that. And before any big sports activity, they use his inhaler along with his medication.

“After a scare in the fall, we do have to give him his inhaler before every practice or game now,” Nield said.

Boden said if you are experiencing persistent coughing and wheezing at any age, contact your doctor.

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Why asthma symptoms can increase in the spring