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What Can Trigger Asthma Attacks

Managing The Environment To Reduce Asthma Triggers

What in the environment can trigger an asthma attack?

Asthma triggers are different for each person. Studies show that if triggers are reduced or stopped, symptoms and the need for quick-relief meds are lessened. To learn about each persons triggers, they should notice where they are and what they are doing when their asthma gets worse.

Allergy testing can help a person with asthma figure out their triggers. They can ask their health care provider about whether to have allergy skin testing or blood testing to figure out if there are any allergens to avoid.

A home visit by trained staff can be helpful to find out about asthma triggers in the home. A home visitor can suggest ways to reduce asthma triggers, share asthma supplies, and provide some facts to help manage asthma.

What Causes Allergic Asthma

The cause of asthma isnt known. However, for those with allergic asthma, the reason symptoms start is related to allergens. This is the main difference between allergic asthma and other types of asthma allergens are inhaled and trigger asthma symptoms. When you experience severe asthma symptoms, its called an asthma attack.

What Are Alternatives To Aspirin And Nsaids

People with aspirin-induced asthma can either avoid these medications or undergo aspirin desensitization. If you chose to avoid the medications, your health care provider can recommend safe alternatives to take for pain and inflammation.3

Aspirin desensitization leads to improvements in about 60% of people.5 The process takes two to four days and is done in a specialized facility.4 You are given a very low starting dose of aspirin. The next dose you are given is slightly higher. Increasing doses are given until all the reactions disappear.1 After aspirin desensitization, you will need to take aspirin daily to maintain the effect.

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What Should I Know About Covid

If you have asthma that is moderate-to-severe, or if your asthma symptoms arent well controlled, youre at greater risk of having to be hospitalized if you get COVID-19. Therefore, you should wear a mask if you go to indoor spaces with other people, get vaccinated and avoid exposure to people who have the virus.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Many people live fulfilling lives with asthma. Some professional athletes with asthma have set records in their sports. Your healthcare provider can help you find the best way to manage your asthma. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to control your symptoms.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/19/2022.


Know When To Get Help

Factors That Can Trigger Asthma Attacks in Children

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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Follow An Asthma Action Plan

An Asthma Action Plan can help you work out how well you are and what to do if your asthma gets worse or better.

Research shows that people who follow Asthma Action Plans have better control over their asthma.

Useful Asthma Resources

This brochure is an asthma action plan for doctors to complete and give to child patients and their parents/caregivers.

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What Types Of Asthma Are There

Asthma is broken down into types based on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Healthcare providers identify asthma as:

  • Intermittent: This type of asthma comes and goes so you can feel normal in between asthma flares.
  • Persistent: Persistent asthma means you have symptoms much of the time. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have symptoms. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.

Asthma has multiple causes:

  • Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Allergens include things like molds, pollens and pet dander.
  • Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.

Asthma can also be:

  • Adult-onset: This type of asthma starts after the age of 18.
  • Pediatric: Also called childhood asthma, this type of asthma often begins before the age of 5, and can occur in infants and toddlers. Children may outgrow asthma. You should make sure that you discuss it with your provider before you decide whether your child needs to have an inhaler available in case they have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.

In addition, there are these types of asthma:

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Asthma Can Significantly Impact Quality Of Life

A survey from the United Kingdom found 68 percent of asthma sufferers say their sex lives have been directly affected by the condition. Three in four have been left feeling embarrassed after taking their inhaler on a romantic night out.

Almost half said they would be more sexually confident if they did not have asthma. Some have reduced the amount of sex they have or stopped having intercourse altogether.

South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.

About Secondhand Smoke And Asthma

Asthma Triggers

Secondhand smoke is the smoke from a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, that is exhaled by a smoker. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 substances, including several compounds that cause cancer.

Secondhand smoke can trigger asthma episodes and increase the severity of attacks. Secondhand smoke is also a risk factor for new cases of asthma in pre-school-aged children. Children’s developing bodies may make them more susceptible to the effects of secondhand smoke. Due to their small size, they breathe more rapidly than adults, thereby taking in more secondhand smoke. Children receiving high doses of secondhand smoke, such as those with smoking parents, run the greatest relative risk of experiencing damaging health effects.

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How Do You Reduce Asthma Triggers

Taking steps to reduce your exposure asthma triggers is a key part of asthma control, including:

  • Use your air conditioner.
  • Clean regularly.
  • Cover your nose and mouth if its cold out.
  • Is water good for asthma? Staying hydrated with plenty of fluids such as water, juice, and tea can help alleviate asthma symptoms.

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    Can Sex Trigger An Asthma Attack

    THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2022 — Much like intense exercise, vigorous sex can trigger an asthma attack in folks with the chronic lung disease, according to new research.

    “There is a lack of current literature available on the prevalence of sexual intercourse presenting as exercise-induced asthma,” said study author Dr. Ariel Leung, chief internal medicine resident at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, Calif.

    This could be because sex isn’t always the easiest topic to broach with your doctor.

    “When sexual intercourse-induced asthma is properly identified and treated, allergists are placed in a position where they can improve their patients’ quality of life and even their marriages,” Leung said.

    When it comes to the risk of having an asthma attack, vigorous sex is akin to walking up two flights of stairs, she noted.

    The same measures that keep asthma at bay during exercise can also help stave off a sex-induced asthma attack.

    “We recommend that patients take their short-acting beta agonist inhaler 30 minutes prior to sexual intercourse to prevent an asthma attack,” Leung said. “Some patients might think it takes away from the romance, but nothing is more romantic than taking care of yourself and not having your partner observe an asthma attack.”

    The wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness that are hallmarks of an asthma attack are caused by inflammation that narrows airways. It can’t be cured but it can be managed.

    This link isn’t surprising, he said.

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    Identifying Asthma Triggers With Allergy Testing

    Determining what triggers a personâs asthma is often difficult.

    Allergy testing is appropriate when there is a suspicion that some avoidable substance is provoking attacks. Skin testing Skin testing Allergic reactions are inappropriate responses of the immune system to a normally harmless substance. Usually, allergies make people sneeze the eyes water and itch⦠read more can help identify allergens that may trigger asthma symptoms. However, an allergic response to a skin test does not necessarily mean that the allergen being tested is causing the asthma. The person still has to note whether attacks occur after exposure to this allergen. If doctors suspect a particular allergen, a blood test that measures the level of antibody produced in response to the allergen can be done to determine the degree of the personâs sensitivity to the allergen.

    How Do I Avoid A Food Trigger

    8 Surprising Things That Can Trigger #Asthma Attacks!

    Once you have experienced an asthma attack from a particular food or preservative, you must go on to ensure you dont knowingly eat anything with that ingredient. If its a common food, like peanuts, you must avoid them and any food containing them, such as peanut butter and food cooked in peanut oil.

    Maybe your doctor discovered the food allergy before the asthma was found. If this sounds familiar, you can expect that having that food nearby could trigger an unwanted asthma attack, especially while cooking, as allergens can be aerosolized by steam, vapors, or sprays.

    You will need to let anyone you are living with or who may be preparing meals for you know about your condition and treat the trigger like a possible deadly allergy. Just because other asthmatics can have that particular food doesn’t mean you should.

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    How Do You Know If You Are Having An Asthma Attack

    An asthma attack happens when the body is exposed to a triggerlike pollen or smokethat causes the airways to become inflamed and swollen.

    Asthma attacks are uncomfortable to experience and can be frightening, especially for children. If you or someone you know is having any of the following symptoms, they may be having an asthma attack:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Chest tightness or pain
    • Coughing or wheezing

    An asthma attack may go away after a few minutes with proper treatment, but symptoms can last longer and become life-threatening if untreated. Seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know is having a severe asthma attack with one or more of the following symptoms:

    • A feeling of panic about the asthma attack
    • Pale and sweaty face
    • Lips or fingernails that are turning blue
    • No improvement in symptoms after using an inhaler

    Allergies Can Cause Asthma

    Allergies with asthma is a common problem. Eighty percent of people with asthma have allergies to things in the air, like tree, grass, and weed pollens mold animal dander dust mites and cockroach droppings. In one study, children with high levels of cockroach droppings in their homes were four times more likely to have childhood asthma than children with low levels. An allergy to dust mites is another common asthma trigger.

    If you have asthma thatâs hard to control, see an allergist to find out if you have allergies. Treating your allergies with medication and avoiding your triggers can help lower the odds of a severe asthma attack.

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    Allergies Can Trigger Asthma Symptoms

    Allergies may be one trigger of asthma, in fact, allergic asthma, is the most common form of asthma. Exposure to airborne allergens like pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold can trigger an attack. Even food allergies can lead to an asthma attack.

    If allergies are triggering an asthma attack, it is essential to identify the allergens you are allergic to, to help you avoid them if possible. Some allergies are unable to be avoided so medication and immunotherapy may be recommended to help lessen the irritation of the allergens.

    About Nitrogen Dioxide And Asthma

    Asthma attacks

    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.

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    Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack Caused By Food

    If you have asthma and you start to have an asthma attack triggered by food or sulfites, you will need to watch out for the symptoms below:

    • Intense coughing

    • Feeling as though you cannot catch your breath

    • Mouth and throat have become very itchy and irritated

    While some of these can be symptoms of asthma in general, these symptoms begin shortly after you start eating. When the first symptom starts, you need to stop chewing immediately, spitting out any food you may have in your mouth.

    If this is your first attack, you need to use your rescue inhaler and identify what you ate when the asthma attack happened. Depending on the severity of the asthma attack, medical assistance may be required.

    What Should I Do If I Think I Have Asthma

    If you suspect you might have asthma, you should see your doctor for a professional diagnosis. Dont ignore it if you do have asthma, the sooner you get it under control, the faster you can get back to living a full and active life. For more information on how Asthma Australia is helping people with asthma to breathe so they can live freely, visit About Us.

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    What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack

    If you have a severe asthma attack, you need to get immediate medical care.

    The first thing you should do is use your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than a maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should use the rescue inhaler when symptoms are bothering you and you can use it more frequently if your flare is severe.

    If your rescue inhaler doesnt help or you dont have it with you, go to the emergency department if you have:

    • Anxiety or panic.
    • Bluish fingernails, bluish lips or gray or whitish lips or gums .
    • Chest pain or pressure.
    • Very quick or rapid breathing.

    Treating A Child Who Is Having An Asthma Attack

    Asthma Seasonal Triggers

    Take your child to the ER if you notice these symptoms:

    • Difficulty breathing. This includes needing to sit up because they cant breathe lying down, gasping or gulping for air, or having trouble taking a complete breath.
    • Breathing with the muscles of their stomach, ribs, and neck. The muscles may look like theyre pulling inwards. It means that they are having to work extra hard to breathe.
    • Wheezing constantly, even after taking their rescue medications listed on their asthma action plan.
    • Lips or fingernails turning blue.
    • Seeming more drowsy than normal. For example, they might fall asleep while playing. Or babies doze off feedings.

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    Research For Your Health

    NHLBI-supported research on asthma has led to more and better treatment options to improve the health of people who have asthma. Through our current research, we hope to better understand how our genes and the environment we live in affect our risk for developing asthma.

    What Causes An Asthma Attack Common Asthma Triggers And How To Avoid Them

    An asthma attack denotes a sudden and acute exacerbation of symptoms of asthma, leading to serious breathing difficulties. As all asthmatics know, these attacks can be caused by different factors and stimuli, usually called triggers. They can be very varied and can affect different individuals in different ways. So, while there are no universal asthma triggers, we can still single out the most common ones that affect the largest percentage of asthmatics. Usually, breathing in allergens is considered to be the most common trigger, but even then, the exact type of those allergens will play a crucial role in the possible onset of an asthma attack.

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    How Do I Manage Stress

    Learn to change thought patterns that produce stress. What you think, how you think, what you expect and what you tell yourself often determine how you feel and how well you manage rising stress levels.

    Reduce stressors . Identify the major stressors in your life: money problems, relationship problems, grief, too many deadlines, busy schedule and lack of support. Get professional help for problems that are too difficult to deal with by yourself.

    Try to avoid situations that trigger stress for you. Practice effective time-management skills, such as delegating when appropriate, setting priorities, pacing yourself and taking time out for yourself.

    Practice relaxation exercises. Relaxation exercises are simple to perform and combine deep breathing, releasing of muscle tension and clearing of negative thoughts. If you practice these exercises regularly, you can use them when needed to lessen the negative effects of stress. Relaxation exercises include diaphragmatic and pursed lip breathing, imagery, repetitive phrases and progressive muscle relaxation. Many commercial audiotapes and books that teach these exercises are available.

    Exercise! Its an excellent way to burn off the accumulated effects of stress.

    Get enough sleep. If you are not sleeping well, you will have less energy and fewer resources for coping with stress. Developing good sleep habits is very important. Here are some tips:


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