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What Are Common Asthma Triggers

Scuba Diving And Asthma

The Most Common Asthma Triggers for Children

Scuba diving if you have uncontrolled asthma can be life-threatening. In fact, it is one of the few sports that is not recommended for some people with asthma.

The risk is that you may breathe in air at a certain pressure at a certain depth, then have that higher pressure air become trapped in your lungs due to asthma closing the air passages in your lungs. As you rise to the surface , that trapped air will expand and may cause injury to your lung. This is called barotrauma , and can be very dangerous.

Only people with mild and well-controlled asthma should consider scuba diving and only with careful medical clearance. Diving regulations vary from country to country so if you have asthma and are keen to dive, its best to check on the local requirements and have a thoughtful discussion with your doctor.

How Can Allergies Cause Asthma

On a very basic level, allergic asthma is asthma thats triggered by allergens, Catherine Monteleone, M.D., an allergist-immunologist at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, tells SELF. But, of course, its a little more in-depth than that, and understanding what makes both allergies and asthma happen can help you better grasp the ins and outs of this condition.

First, asthma is a condition that impacts your airways, those tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When your asthma is triggered by something, your airways become inflamed and can narrow, making it hard or uncomfortable to breathe normally.

Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to an outside substancecommon ones include pollen and pet danderor food, according to the Mayo Clinic. Whenever your immune system recognizes something as a foreign invader, it produces antibodies to help your body fight off that perceived attacker in the future. In the case of allergies, your immune system makes antibodies to allergens that arent actually harmful to your body. So, when you come into contact with that allergen in the future, it triggers the immune response responsible for a whole host of symptoms.

The One Trigger You Shouldnt Avoid

Exercise can be a common asthma trigger, but this is one trigger you shouldnt avoid. Physical activity is important for your overall health, and its a risk worth taking.

Be wise about incorporating physical activity, exercise, and outdoor activities into your life. If exercise-induced asthma is a concern, talk with your doctor about medications that help prevent asthma flare-ups when youre physically active.

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How Do I Know What Triggers My Asthma

The first step is to think about which of the common triggers you are exposed to. Some questions to consider:1

  • Do you have indoor pets?
  • Do you have moist or damp rooms in the house ?
  • Is there any visible mold in your house?
  • Have you seen cockroaches in your house?
  • Do your symptoms get worse at certain times of year?
  • Is a fireplace or wood-burning stove used in the home?
  • Are there unvented stoves or heaters in the home?
  • Have you done any recent renovations or painting?
  • Do you use strong-smelling perfumes, cleaning agents, or sprays?
  • Are your symptoms different at work and at home?

Your provider may also recommend allergy skin tests. These tests check if you react to allergens that are often found indoors all year long. Because you are exposed to these allergens all the time, these triggers can be hard to figure out based on history alone.1

Allergy skin tests are not always accurate. You may not react on the skin test to something that has triggered symptoms before. Or you may react to something on the skin test that has never bothered you. The results should be compared with what you have noticed in everyday life.1

How Are Allergic Asthma Treatments Tailored Based On Triggers

Common Triggers and Treatments For Severe Asthma

If you suspect that you have allergic asthma, its important to meet with a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis first, Priya Patel, M.D., an allergist and immunologist at Penn Medicine, tells SELF. The allergist can do testing, which may consist of skin testing or blood testing, to help identify allergens that may be triggering asthma, she explains. They can then provide tips for how to avoid those allergens.

From there, you and your doctor can come up with a proper treatment plan that will also include whats known as an asthma action plan. This plan includes advice on what you should be doing on a regular basis when youre feeling well, as well as which medications you should use when you have an allergic asthma attack, Dr. Patel explains. For long-term care, immunotherapy is a great tool that helps desensitize your body to specific allergens over time, helping to gradually minimize symptoms.

Your doctor should also talk to you about lifestyle modifications you can make to try to avoid or minimize your triggers, Evan Li, M.D., assistant professor of medicine in immunology, allergy, and rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine, tells SELF. Heres a basic breakdown, based on the common triggers:

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Drugs And Food Additives

Beta blockers, which often are prescribed for high blood pressure, glaucoma, migraine headaches and angina, can cause bronchospasm, an airway tightening. Patients with asthma should consult their allergist about the use of these medications.

Food additives rarely trigger asthma. The most common food trigger for asthma is sulfite, a preservative used in such products as frozen potatoes and some beers and wines.

What Are The 4 Things That Trigger Asthma

Sinus infections, allergies, pollen, breathing in some chemicals, and acid reflux can also trigger attacks. Physical exercise some medicines bad weather, such as thunderstorms or high humidity breathing in cold, dry air and some foods, food additives, and fragrances can also trigger an asthma attack.

What is pre asthmatic?

Overview. In childhood asthma, the lungs and airways become easily inflamed when exposed to certain triggers, such as inhaling pollen or catching a cold or other respiratory infection. Childhood asthma can cause bothersome daily symptoms that interfere with play, sports, school and sleep.

What are allergens examples?

The more common allergens include:

  • grass and tree pollen an allergy to these is known as hay fever
  • animal dander, tiny flakes of skin or hair.
  • food particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs and cows milk.
  • insect bites and stings.

What are some examples of triggers in life?

When listing your triggers, write those that are more possible or sure to occur, or which may already be occurring in your life. Some examples of common triggers are: being judged, criticized, teased, or put down aggressive-sounding noises or exposure to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable

How to write a list of your triggers?

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Whats Triggering Your Asthma

An asthma trigger is something you come into contact with that causes the airways in your lungs to swell and narrow. When this happens, it becomes harder to breath. You may notice a mild tightness or constricted feeling in your chest that makes you cough and wheeze when you breathe in. If you have asthma, its important to figure out what things may be triggering your symptoms. While everyone is different, there are several common asthma triggers.

Common asthma triggers

  • Allergens This includes common allergens like pollen, dust mites and pet dander.
  • Illnesses Viruses like a cold or the flu can trigger asthma as well as conditions like a sinus infection.
  • Environmental irritants Cigarette smoke or smoke from fires can trigger asthma. So can things like chemicals and air pollution.
  • Weather Asthma may be triggered by hot and humid weather or dry and cold air. Sudden changes in the weather can also cause asthma to flare.
  • Physical activity Exercising can cause airways to narrow and bring on asthma symptoms.

Know When To Get Help

Apollo Hospitals | What are common asthma triggers? | Dr Sundararajan L

Warning signs of a potential asthma attack include:

  • Needing more rescue inhaler medication .
  • A cough that gets worse.
  • Feeling like you canât breathe or like someoneâs sitting on your chest.
  • Waking up at night feeling like you canât breathe.
  • Not being able to be active or exercise without getting winded or wheezing.

Use your asthma rescue inhaler medication as soon as you start to feel an attack come on. If it doesnât seem to work and you feel like you still canât breathe, call 911 so you can get to an emergency room right away.

If you have a steroid medicine at home , you can take it on your way to the ER.

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What Are Common Asthma Triggers

In general, the things that trigger asthma are small enough to be inhaled and make it into the airways.2 Once in the airways, they set off a reaction that leads to asthma symptoms: wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. When these symptoms start suddenly and get progressively worse, you may be having an asthma attack.1

Common inhaled triggers are:

Certain situations can also trigger asthma, such as exercise or emotional stress. For some people, certain medications and food additives trigger asthma symptoms.

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 .

Additionally, proteins found in an animals saliva, feces, urine, hair, and skin can trigger asthma. The best way to avoid a flare-up from these triggers is to avoid the animal altogether.

If youre not ready to part ways with a beloved family pet, try keeping the animal out of your bedroom, off furniture, and outside most of the time if possible. Indoor pets should be bathed frequently.

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Know Your Asthma Triggers

Reviewed by Theresa H. Care Delivery Manager & Family Nurse Practitioner

Breathing is something our bodies just know how to do. And most people dont give a second thought to how theyre breathing, until theres a problem. If youve been diagnosed with asthma, there are likely times when you notice its a little harder to breathe. Symptoms like mild shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing are all common asthma symptoms. When you have asthma, its important to understand how to manage your symptoms. And a big part of being able to manage mild to moderate asthma is to identify your asthma triggers.

Can I Prevent Asthma

Common Asthma Triggers

Because the exact cause of asthma is unknown, you may not be able to prevent asthma in yourself or your children. You or your child may develop asthma when the bodys immune system is still developing.

Research suggests that you may be able to take some steps to help prevent asthma from developing. They include doing your best to keep your home free of dampness and mold, avoiding air pollution as much as possible, and making a healthy weight a priority for you and your children.

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Tips To Reduce Exposure To Outdoor Pollution And Weather

Avoiding outdoor pollution or weather conditions can be difficult, but tips for reducing your exposure include:

  • Check media for daily outdoor air quality reports.
  • Stay indoors with windows closed on high-pollution days use an air conditioner on recirculate to filter the air.
  • Stay indoors with windows closed and vents blocked if hazard-reduction burns or bushfire smoke is in your area.
  • Avoid physical activity on high-pollution days or if smoke is in the air.
  • Avoid cold air in winter wear a scarf over your nose and mouth, and exercise indoors.

What To Do During An Asthma Attack

During an asthma attack, a person should try to remain calm and use the medication their doctor prescribed to help treat an acute attack.

A healthcare professional will typically prescribe the use of a quick-relief medication, often in the form of an inhaler, that will work quickly to open up the airways. These medications can include short-acting, rapid-onset beta2-agonists and anticholinergic bronchodilators.

If a persons inhaler is ineffective, they may need inhaled or systemic corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation in the lungs.

A person should speak with a doctor if their symptoms persist or their fast-acting medication becomes less effective.

Read Also: How To Know If Your Asthma Is Severe

Sinusitis And Other Upper Respiratory Infections

Much like asthma causes inflammation in the lining of your airways, sinusitis causes inflammation in the mucus membranes that line your sinuses. This makes the membranes put out more mucus. If you have asthma and your sinuses get inflamed, your airways may too. Prompt treatment of a sinus infection can relieve asthma symptoms.

How To Avoid Pollen

Common Asthma Triggers

A person can reduce the effects of pollen exposure by:

  • ensuring they have their reliever inhaler on them at all times
  • taking a preventer inhaler in line with instructions from a healthcare professional
  • taking antihistamine medications

Individuals can also use a pollen calendar to help understand which pollen triggers their hay fever or asthma.

Disinfectants and cleaning products can trigger an asthma attack. This is because they contain chemicals, strong scents, and volatile organic compounds .

Cleaning supplies and other household products that contain VOCs include:

  • aerosol spray products
  • Exercise: Exercising can cause a person to breathe heavily. Physical activity can also lead to exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, a form of asthma. With proper treatment, a person will not need to limit their physical activity.
  • Medications: Aspirin can trigger an asthma flare-up. Beta-blockers can also make it more difficult to control asthma. People should speak with a healthcare professional before taking these medications.
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    About Nitrogen Dioxide And Asthma

    Nitrogen dioxide is an odorless gas that can irritate your eyes, nose and throat and cause shortness of breath. Indoor NO2 can come from using appliances that burn fuels such as gas, kerosene and wood.

    In people with asthma, exposure to low levels of NO2 may cause increased bronchial reactivity and make young children more susceptible to respiratory infections. Long-term exposure to high levels of NO2 can lead to chronic bronchitis. Studies show a connection between breathing elevated short-term NO2concentrations, and increased visits to emergency departments and hospital admissions for respiratory issues, especially asthma.

    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, its 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.

    What is Aluna?

    Aluna is an innovative, scientifically-accurate, and portable spirometer cleared by the FDA.

    This device and management program is designed to help adults and children, 5 years and up, monitor their lung function and take control of their respiratory health.

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    Tips To Reduce The Risk Of Airway Infections

    Colds and viruses like flu are a very common cause of asthma symptoms. After an airway infection, people with asthma are more likely to develop complications, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

    To reduce the risk of an airway infection, such as colds or flu:

    • get tested for COVID-19 according to local health advice.

    COVID-19 protocols have shown us how beneficial these measures can be to avoid respiratory infections.

    How To Avoid Common Asthma Triggers

    Asthma Seasonal 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.

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    How Asthma Affects The Lungs

    Normally, the bodys immune system helps fight infections. But it may also respond to other things you breathe in, such as pollen or mold. In some people, the immune system reacts strongly by creating inflammation.

    When this happens, the airways swell, narrow, and may create more mucus. The muscles around the airways may also tighten. This can make it even harder to breathe. Over time, the airway walls can become thicker.

    To understand asthma, it helps to understand how the lungs work.


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