Asthma is a chronic disease marked by inflammation of the lung’s airways. It’s so common that 18.7 million American adults have it1 Asthma attacks can be scary, since they make it hard to breathe. There’s no cure, but asthma can be managed with medication. It can also be controlled by avoiding these nine common asthma triggers.
1. Cigarette Smoke
Cigarette smoke can easily cause an asthma attack. This includes passive smoking from others, too. So stay away from smokers when possible, even if you don’t have asthma.2
2. Outdoor Pollution
Pollution from cars and factories can be really irritating. But since you can’t control them, try to avoid congested areas. You can also wear a dust mask or handkerchief. Otherwise, consider moving to a less polluted town.3
Mold spores can trigger asthma when they get into the lungs. To prevent this, watch out for mold at home. Keep rooms well-ventilated by opening windows and using fans. Fix leaks as soon as you notice them. You can also reduce dampness by properly handling wet clothes and towels.4
Animal dander is bad news for asthma. Saliva, oil, and urine can also be an issue. Common culprits include dogs, hamsters, rabbits, birds, and especially cats! So if you have a pet, consider finding a new home for your furry friend. Keeping it around will worsen your condition.5
5. Dust Mites
It’s hard to avoid dust mites, a popular asthma trigger. These tiny bugs look like spiders and eat the skin cells shed by humans. They also live in dust, so vacuum often. Wash your bedding weekly with hot water. You can also reduce dust mites by removing carpeting and rugs.6
6. Cockroach Droppings
It may sound gross, but cockroach feces can worsen asthma. Make your home cockroach-free by cleaning areas that are prone to crumbs and dampness. Seal cracks with bait gel and take out the garbage often.7 Try to keep the garage and basement clutter-free.
Do you have seasonal allergies? Blame pollen, an extremely common asthma trigger. It’s released by trees, plants, and weeds during the spring and fall. To limit your exposure, check the pollen count before heading outside. Stay indoors when possible.8
Asthma attacks can be triggered by strong odors like perfumes, colognes, and air fresheners.9 So it’s best to avoid these products, especially at home. If you catch a whiff of perfume in public, leave the area or use a handkerchief.
Alcoholic drinks have a reputation for causing reactions. Wine is the biggest culprit! It has sulfite additives and salicylates, two chemicals that can irritate symptoms.10 If you have sulfite-induced asthma, avoid wine. You should also skip any other alcoholic drinks that seem to be a trigger.
If you have asthma, pay attention to your triggers. Everyone is different. Take the extra steps to keep them away – it’s worth it!
|↑1||Asthma’s Impact on the Nation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention|
|↑2, ↑3, ↑7||Common Asthma Triggers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention|
|↑4||Mold Allergy, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America|
|↑5||Common Asthma Triggers, Asthma Society of Canada|
|↑6||Dust mite allergy – Lifestyle and home remedies, Mayo Clinic|
|↑8||Air Pollution & Outdoor Triggers, Asthma Society of Canada|
|↑9||Shim, Chang and M. Henry Williams. Effects of odors in asthma. The American Journal of Medicine 80.1(1986):18-22.|
|↑10||Vally, Hassan, Nicholas de Klerk, and Philip J. Thompson. Alcoholic drinks: Important triggers for asthma. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 105.3(2000):462-467.|