Feb 29, 2012 3:25 PM
(NBC) - Deadly asthma attacks are something to be aware of, even if you think you're only an allergy sufferer, especially this year.
Unfortunately, right now is that perfect combination of the end of winter cold season and the beginning of spring allergy season.
"I grew up with a brother who had asthma, and this was not in today's day and age where we had the medications we have now," said Dr. Bryn Salt, an Allergist and Immunologist at Sharp Rees-Stealy. "Every family vacation, every time the weather changed, it seemed like we were always in the emergency room."
"The flu season has just begun in this past month, we're seeing a lot of colds, a lot of pneumonia, sinusitis," Salt added.
"There are exposure to viral infections, so at this time of year, we get a lot of viruses," Dr. Julian Lichter said. He's a pulmonologist at Scripps Mercy Hospital.
Richter said triggers include aspirin and your own pets.
Another trigger is exercise induced asthma, which he said is the cause of 60 U.S. deaths, in an eight year period.
As for prevention: beware of "long-acting" medications - believe it or not, they can cause quick-onset asthma attacks.
"So the inflammation gets worse and worse and worse, and then suddenly, bam, you have a severe asthma attack, and you're wondering why, because I didn't feel the symptoms, but the symptoms may have been masked," Lichter said.
With allergy season in full-swing for some of you, doctors say it's critical to get on an allergy or asthma medication if you need it.