Asthma Triggers

Common Triggers

Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It is one of the most common long-term diseases of children, but adults can have asthma too. The lungs are made of tiny airways. During an asthma flare-up, three things happen in the airways inside your lungs:

  • The lining or the walls of the airways become swollen
  • Mucus is made, which can plug the airways
  • Muscles around the airways tighten, making the airways smaller

Asthma Triggers/Irritants

  • Tobacco smoke -tobacco smoke is unhealthy for everyone, especially people with asthma
  • Outdoor air pollution
  • Smoke from burning wood or other plants is made up of a mix of harmful gases and small particles
  • Strong odors and sprays - strong smells from campfires, perfumes, colognes, deodorants, cleaning supplies, paints, and many others can worsen asthma
  • Exercise, sports, work or play
  • Colds and flu (upper respiratory infection)

Indoor Allergens

  • Dust mites - tiny creatures found in bedding, pillows, carpets, curtains and furniture fabrics in almost every home
  • Cockroaches - often found where food is eaten and crumbs left behind
  • Pets - all pets with fur or feathers can make dander
  • Rodents - rodents produce dander, similar to pet dander, which is small enough to be inhaled
  • Mold - grows inside where surfaces are moist and lights are low, in places like bathrooms, basements, under sinks, and in potted plants
    Mold control tips
  • Tips for Minimizing Indoor Allergens

Outdoor Allergens

  • Pollen and outdoor mold - pollens are seasonal; spring, summer, and fall bring different types of pollen and molds
  • Learn more about pollen control
  • Learn more about minimizing outdoor allergens

Other Triggers

  • Cold air - cover nose and mouth with a scarf on cold or windy days
  • Other weather changes - exercise inside on hot, humid, and muggy days
  • Other medicines - be sure to tell your provider about all the medicines you are using including cold medicines, aspirin, eye drops, vitamins, and herbs

Trigger Control

Asthma flare-ups can be avoided and controlled by:

  • Responding to symptoms
  • Using medicine the right way
  • Avoiding triggers
  • Working with your doctor, school staff, and childcare workers

To speak with our Health Program team, please call 414-266-3173.