Common Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Read up on some of the most common asthma triggers.

Common Asthma Triggers

Asthma triggers are materials, conditions, or activities that either worsen asthma symptoms or cause an asthma flare-up. Asthma triggers are common, which is precisely what makes them so troublesome. In some cases, avoiding all of your asthma triggers can be difficult. However, with a little planning, you can learn to prevent exposure to your triggers and reduce your risk for an asthma flare-up or attack. Click through this slideshow to learn more about allergic asthma triggers and how you can avoid them.

Triggers in the Air

Exposure to pollen, air pollution, cigarette smoke, and fumes from burning vegetation can make your asthma flare up. Pollens are most troublesome during spring and fall, although flowers, weeds, and grasses bloom throughout the year. Avoid being outside during peak pollen times of day.

Use air conditioning if you have it. Air conditioning reduces indoor air pollutants, such as pollen, and it lowers the humidity in the room or house. This reduces your risk of exposure to dust mites and your risk of having a flare.

Feathered and Furry Friends Can Trigger Asthma

Pets and animals, while adorable, can trigger an asthma episode in people who are allergic to them. Dander is one trigger, and all animals have it. Some animals have more than others. Additionally, the proteins found in an animal’s saliva, feces, urine, hair, and skin can trigger asthma. The best way to avoid a flare from these triggers is to avoid the animals altogether. If you’re not ready to part ways with a beloved family pet, try keeping the animals out of your bedroom, off furniture, and outside most of the time if possible. Indoor pets should be bathed frequently.

Be a Dust Detective

Dust mites, a common allergen, love to hide out in places and rooms we frequent, including bedrooms, living rooms, and offices. Purchase dust-proof covers for your mattress, box springs, and sofa. Buy dust-proof pillow wraps that go between your pillow and your pillowcase. Carpets and rugs are dust magnets, too. If you have carpeting in your home, it may be time to bid adieu and have hardwood floors put down instead. Reduce unnecessary clutter, and wash your linens on the hottest water setting.

Don’t Be Friendly to Mold

Mold and mildew are two big asthma triggers. You can prevent harm from these triggers by being aware of damp places in your kitchen, bath, basement, and around the yard. High humidity increases the risk for mold and mildew growth. Invest in a dehumidifier if humidity is a concern. Be sure to toss out any molded or mildewed shower curtains, rugs, leaves, or firewood.

Threats That Crawl

Cockroaches aren’t just creepy—they can make you sick. These bugs and their droppings are a potential asthma trigger. If you discover that you have a cockroach problem, take steps to eliminate them. Cover up, store, and remove open water and food containers. Vacuum, sweep, and mop any areas where you see cockroaches. Call an exterminator or use roach gels to reduce the number of bugs in your home. Don’t forget to inspect your home’s outside to see where bugs might be hiding.

Other Conditions Can Cause Asthma

Infections, viruses, and diseases that affect your lungs can trigger your asthma. Examples include colds, respiratory infections, pneumonia, and the flu. Sinus infections and acid reflux may cause an asthma flare, as can some medicines. 

Perfumes and heavily scented items can aggravate your airways. Stress, anxiety, and other strong emotions can also trigger fast breathing. This airway aggravation or fast breathing can cause an asthma flare. Additionally, food allergies may cause an allergy attack, especially if you’re experiencing an anaphylactic reaction to a food allergen.

Avoid Your Triggers

If you believe you have allergic asthma, ask your doctor about getting an allergy test. This way you can discover what allergens cause you to develop an asthmatic flare. Although you can’t cure asthma, you can help control it. Work with your doctor to identify your asthma triggers. Avoid them whenever possible, and you’ll avoid the unwanted asthma and allergy symptoms that accompany.

The One Trigger You Shouldn’t Avoid

Exercise can be an asthma trigger for some. Exercise-induced asthma is one of the most common asthma triggers, but this is one trigger you shouldn’t avoid. Physical activity is important for your overall health, and it’s a risk worth taking. You can incorporate physical activity, exercise, and outdoor activities into your life. You just have to do so wisely. If exercise-induced asthma is a concern, talk with your doctor about medications that help prevent asthma flares when you’re physically active.

When You Can’t Avoid Triggers

Some triggers are so common that you can’t really avoid them. Dust is a good example of this. People who are highly sensitive to dust will have a difficult time avoiding it. In that case, your doctor may recommend you receive allergy shots. Your doctor will inject tiny amounts of the allergen into your body. Over time, your body learns to recognize the allergen and will not respond to it as severely as it once did. This treatment can reduce your asthma symptoms during a flare and may make some triggers much more manageable.