One of the most important things you can do to manage your asthma is to work with your healthcare provider to identify and minimize your exposure to your asthma triggers.
Triggers are allergens, irritants, or conditions that cause your asthma symptoms to worsen. It's important to know what triggers your asthma symptoms. Triggers vary from person to person, so you will have to learn which ones are problems for you. While it's impossible to avoid every single asthma trigger, there may be things you can do to help.
Below you'll find tips on dealing with various types of asthma triggers. If you are able to reduce your exposure to some of these triggers but still experience asthma symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider.
Select the triggers below to find out more.
Many people with asthma are allergic to the dried droppings and remains of cockroaches.
Dust mites are tiny bugs you cannot see that live in cloth and carpet. Pillows, mattresses, bedding, and rugs or carpet all attract dust and invisible dust mites that can trigger asthma symptoms in individuals who are allergic to dust mites. To reduce the number of dust mites in your house, try the following:
Moisture causes mold, so getting rid of excess water in your house or workplace may help get rid of mold.
Some people are allergic to the dander (the flakes of skin), dried saliva, or urine that comes from animals with fur or feathers. Giving up your beloved pet may not be an option, so if your symptoms get worse around your pet, try the following tips:
If you have an allergy to pollen or outdoor mold, allergy season can be tough on your asthma. And if you have multiple allergies, it also can be long: tree pollens cause problems in early spring, grass pollens strike in late spring and early summer, and weed pollens are active in late summer and early fall. While you can't avoid pollen entirely, the following tips may help you weather the seasons:
Be sure to ask your healthcare provider if you need to adjust how you’re managing your asthma before allergy season starts.
If you have asthma, you may be very sensitive to strong odors or chemicals in the air.
If you have asthma, it's important not to smoke. Cigarette smoke makes your asthma worse by irritating the airways of your lungs. Smoking may also permanently damage your airways. To reduce your exposure to smoke, try the following:
For many years, it was believed that people with asthma should not or could not exercise. Today, healthcare providers recommend that most people, including people with asthma, get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Asthma symptoms triggered by exercise may occur during exercise or within 5 to 20 minutes after you exercise, and they usually go away in another 20 to 30 minutes. Plan and adjust your exercise carefully, under your healthcare provider's supervision.
Follow the suggestions below to help make asthma symptoms triggered by exercise less likely:
If colds and respiratory infections trigger your asthma symptoms, try the following:
If you are sensitive to cold temperatures, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf while outdoors on cold or windy days.
Stress can be an asthma trigger and may cause your asthma symptoms to become worse. While you can't avoid stress entirely, you can develop ways to help
Some people find that foods or beverages containing the preservative sulfite can trigger their asthma symptoms. If you have been suffering from flare-ups, take a look at what you are eating and drinking. It may take a while to figure out what foods—if any—trigger your asthma symptoms. The following are examples of foods and beverages that commonly contain sulfites: