Friday, May 23, 2008


"How does it all started ?" "When was my first asthma attack?" To be frank, I'm not quite sure myself. It's quite difficult to pin-point when exacly the first attack was. But I remember vaguely that it was winter time back in the late 1985. I was in the final year of my studies at Indiana State University (ISU), Terre Haute.
From my South 7th St. Apartment, I saw a couple of Mek Salleh and Pak Hitam jogging in the snow. I thought if they can do it why not me ? Having so bored stuck in the apartment alone in a cold winter morning, I put on my jogging attire complete with hood, snow cap & mufflers. Everything was ok then.
I only discovered I had asthma only in 1992 (during one of those bad haze experienced by Malaysia). This was after a very bad attack that left me extremely breathless and I had to be hospitalized. I never realized before that I had asthma. Since then, everytime I get a cold or flu, I will feel breathless and develop slight wheezing.
When come to think about it, I guess the cold air from the Indiana snow could have triggered my first asthma attack. I guess the "breathing apparatus" for Americans and Asians were made differently. Even our noses were constructed differently !
Anyway, there are various substances or situations that are known to cause or provoke asthma, these causes are called the triggers of asthma. The common ones are:

Airborne Allergens - Allergens like pollen grains, animal fur, feathers, animal dander, animal saliva, urine (particularly that of dogs, cats and horses), dust mites, cockroaches, moulds
Airborne Particles - Flour, chalk dust, wood dust, coal dust, talcum powder, grains, coffee
Air Pollutants - Cigarette smoke, wood smoke, chemicals in air, sulphur dioxide, diesel particles, ozone, haze
Alcohol, Artificial Fibres, Cold, flu, sinusitis, viral infection, Cosmetics - cintronella oil
Drinks like tea, Dyes
Food like cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, cheese, yeast, nuts, fish, pork, corn, apple, asparagus, avocado, bamboo shoots, barley, buckwheat, carrot, celery, chickpea, currants, lentil, melon, onion, pea, peanuts, potatoes, soya, strawberries. Food Additives like food colors, preservatives, antioxidants. Herbs/Spices like aniseeds, coriander, cumin, garlic, mint, oregano, rosemary, tarragon.

Insect Stings, Latex, Medication like the following given medicines: Aspirin, Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, Beta-blocker that are used to treat heart diseases, high blood pressure, migraine headaches. Contraceptive pills containing estrogen, Hormone Replacement Therapies.

Occupational Exposure to substances like adhesives, animal and insects, azodicarbonamide, drug Manufacture, Dyes such as carmine, flour, grain coffee beans, ipecacuanha, ispaghula, metals like aluminium, cobalt, chrome, nickel, platinum salts and stainless steel.

Proteolytic Enzymes - in baking, meat tenderizing and detergent manufacturing, Soldering Flux, wood dust, Plants, Salicylates.

Strong Smells like perfumes, household cleansers, cooking fumes (frying), paints, varnish, strong smelling flowers.

Exercise mainly in winters, Sudden temperature and humidity changes (extreme weather)

NOTE: The ones highlighted in bold red are the common TRIGGERS of my past asthma attacks.

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