An Awka-based medical practitioner, Mary Mbelu, has said that hibiscus flowers, body sprays and keeping cats as pets among others, can aggravate asthma attacks in its patients.
Mrs Mbelu, a former Director of Nursing at Odumegwu Ojukwu School of Nursing in Anambra, made the statement on Friday, in Awka.
She said hibiscus flowers produce very heavy pollen into the atmosphere and when inhaled, can trigger asthma attacks.
She said cat’s fur or hair could also collect allergens such as dust or pollen substances that cause allergic reactions.
“When you keep the cat as pets, its fur or hair carries allergens like dust and pollen, and they can be stirred into the air when the cat is petted or groomed.
“These airborne particles are small enough to get into the lungs. For some people, this exposure can cause severe breathing problems.
“Highly sensitive people can begin coughing, wheezing and have shortness of breath within 15 to 30 minutes of inhaling allergens.
“Cat allergies also can lead to chronic asthma,” she said.
She said that the best treatment was to avoid contact with cats or areas where they live.
“Keep pets out of your home. If possible, try to avoid cats; this may give you enough relief that you will not need medicine,” Mrs Mbelu advised.
Mrs Mbelu further advised asthma patients to avoid the use of body sprays, and rather use drop perfumes to avoid triggering an asthma attack.
She said symptoms are variable and can fluctuate for each individual over time.
According to her, Asthma condition is characterised by recurring respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightening.
“Symptoms of asthma can be caused by triggers such as tobacco smoke, dust mites, body sprays, insecticides, air pollution, pollen, mold, respiratory infections, physical activity and cold,” she said.
Mrs Mbelu however said that managing asthma usually involved avoiding asthma triggers and taking prescribed medications to prevent or treat the symptoms.
According to statistics by the Nigerian Thoracic Society, NTS, in May, no fewer than 15 million people have Asthma in Nigeria.