Asthma triggers are everywhere which can make managing asthma a bit tricky. Relying on rescue inhalers or other meds should not be your go-to strategy for asthma maintenance. Instead, the first step in taking control of asthma is to recognize the most common triggers and the best ways to avoid them. To help you identify what might be affecting your asthma, we have put together an Asthma Triggers List of common irritants for your review.
How to Identify Your Asthma Triggers
To best identify your asthma triggers, you should keep an Asthma Journal. Take daily spirometer readings and note any possible triggers. Record the weather conditions and if you participated in any strenuous activity. Over time you will find that a pattern emerges. This may not provide you with a comprehensive list of your triggers but it can help you pinpoint certain ones you should avoid.
Once you have a list of common asthma triggers specific to you, then you can take practical measures to reduce their impact.
Asthma Triggers List
Your personal asthma triggers are individual to you and depend on your asthma type and severity. However, there are common triggers that seem to affect the majority of asthma sufferers.
Dust mites are perhaps the most common asthma trigger. The waste products produced by dust mites cause a histamine reaction in many individuals. Allergies and asthma seem to go hand in hand for many, and the respiratory distress caused by dust allergies can exacerbate other breathing conditions.
Ask your child’s school administrator about the air quality index to ensure your child is breathing clean air, inside and outside. If they don’t know the condition of the air, you can recommend that they get an air quality test by a local inspector. They can also test for mold, another known trigger.
Like dust, pollen can cause an allergic reaction. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, be sure to consult with your doctor. If your seasonal allergies are severe, you may need to adjust your asthma medications during those months of the year.
Mold spores are terrible for your health and will negatively affect your lungs whether you have asthma or not. Unfortunately, mold is often found in the place we spend the most time, our homes. If you suspect mold is triggering your asthma, you can schedule a local remediation expert to test and treat your home.
Mildew is not mold, but it is often found in the same places. One way to distinguish one from the other is by color. Mildew is white, gray, or yellow and mold is generally black or green. Like mold, mildew is bad for your lungs and should be avoided. Mold and mildew both contribute to air pollution.
Many people suffer from exercise-induced asthma. During exercise, the airways narrow and cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and other symptoms. If exercise triggers your asthma, consider low-impact activities and use a portable spirometer to measure lung health during your activity.
Fire smoke, cigarette smoke, tobacco smoke, exhaust fumes, etc. can all worsen asthma symptoms as well as your overall health. Cigarette smoke, vaping, and second-hand smoke can also trigger asthma attacks.
As much as we love them, pets often trigger a person’s asthma. Pet hair and dander are often buried deep in carpet or become airborne, irritating your lungs when ingested. Even if you don’t suffer from pet allergies, you may find that excessive dander or hair is irritating enough to trigger your asthma.
Cockroaches are unpleasant as they are, but did you know their droppings can trigger your asthma? The same goes for rats, mice, and other rodents and bugs. If you see evidence of an infestation, call a pest control expert as soon as possible.
Your overall lung health plays a crucial role in asthma management. Regular viruses, respiratory infections, or diseases can worsen your asthma symptoms. If you come down with a respiratory virus, be sure to consult with your doctor to see if you need supplemental medications in order to better manage your asthma.
How to Avoid Common Asthma Triggers
Since most triggers fall into the categories of allergens or environmental concerns, you can take measures to minimize their impact in your life.
1. Clean regularly.
Since many common allergens can cause asthma attacks, clean your home regularly. This protects you from ingesting excessive dust, dirt, and other pollutants. Dust, vacuum, sweep, and if you have carpet, hire a professional cleaner once or twice a year.
2. Keep an eye on the weather.
Check the weather forecast before leaving your home. Wind or rain can carry pollen, smoke, and other airborne particles right into your lungs, causing a flare-up. Prepare for potentially hazardous weather.
3. Tell your doctor about your asthma triggers.
To maintain control over your asthma, stay in constant communication with your asthma doctor.
Although there is no cure for asthma, it is possible to combat it with the proper attack plan. Work with your doctor to develop a plan for medication, tracking triggers, and maintaining data. Knowing ahead of time what you will do in the event of an asthma attack could save your life.
Common Questions about Asthma Triggers
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on the internet regarding asthma triggers.
1. What can cause asthma to flare up?
Anything that stresses your respiratory system can cause your asthma to flare up. Seasonal allergies or environmental allergies are common culprits. Another thing that could make your asthma symptoms worsen is a respiratory infection or viruses like the flu or COVID-19.
2. What foods can trigger asthma?
Typically the foods that trigger asthma are known allergens such as eggs, milk, peanuts, gluten, and fish. However, if you suspect that foods are triggering your asthma, keep a food diary. Tracking what you eat and your reaction to those foods can give your doctor valuable insight and suggest treatment options.
3. Is coffee bad for asthma?
For most people, coffee is not considered to be bad for asthma. In fact, coffee was once recommended as a treatment for respiratory distress. However, it’s not the coffee itself but the caffeine that may have had some effect on mild illnesses. Caffeine is a stimulant that works as a weak bronchodilator. However, coffee should never be considered as a substitute for asthma medicines that have been prescribed by a doctor.