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What Is Asthma Triggered By

Other Conditions Can Cause Asthma

What Is Allergic Asthma?

Infections, viruses, and diseases that affect your lungs can trigger your asthma. Examples include colds, respiratory infections, pneumonia, and the flu. Sinus infections and acid reflux can also cause an asthma flare-up, as can some medicines.

Perfumes and heavily scented items can aggravate your airways. Stress, anxiety, and other strong emotions can also trigger fast breathing. This irritation in your airway or fast breathing can cause an asthma flare-up too. Additionally, food allergies may cause an asthma attack, especially if you have a history of having an anaphylactic reaction to a food allergen.

What Are My Triggers

Most people are allergic to more than one trigger and sometimes the response is different, so you could get itchy eyes around cats but a runny nose during pollen season. The severity of the allergic reaction varies between people and depends on the circumstances. A reaction may not be immediate.

Sometimes it can be fairly obvious what triggers your asthma. If you have symptoms after coming in contact with cats or dogs then pets are probably one of your triggers. The same applies for contact with smoke from cigarettes or open fires.

Triggers like pollen can be more difficult to determine because the allergens are not visible. It is important to keep a diary of when you experience symptoms and note where you were at the time, what the weather conditions were like and what things you were exposed to including stress.

Know Your Asthma Triggers

Some asthma triggers are things that you are allergic to and some just irritate your airways. Triggers can cause asthma symptoms, and can bring on an asthma attack.

  • Prevent asthma symptoms and asthma flares by staying away from things that make your asthma worse.
  • Asthma triggers are everywhere outside, in businesses, at your work place, schools, everywhere. Triggers can also be found in your home. You can determine what triggers might exist in your home, by assessing your entire home for triggers. Use an Asthma Home Environment Checklist to identify triggers and how to approach removal or reducing exposure to that specific asthma trigger.
  • Work with your health care provider to identify what triggers make your asthma worse and how to avoid and/or get rid of them.
  • Asthma triggers are not the same for each and every person รข they are unique to each individual and every persons lungs react differently to each specific trigger.

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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.

Allergic Triggers Of Asthma


Allergies are a common cause of asthma symptoms. Most people identify more than one allergy but the symptoms experienced vary from person to person and can include hay fever, skin reactions, asthma or a life-threatening severe allergic reaction .

If you are allergic to a substance that causes your asthma symptoms to flare up, you can take action to avoid or reduce exposure to the allergy trigger.

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Perception Of Triggers And Their Identification As Asthma

Many potential asthma triggers, such as pollen, house dust mite, mold, small particulate matter, or respiratory viruses, do not have a phenomenal appearance that is easy to perceive. Therefore, presence of these triggers is often inferred from the occurrence of cues that are associated with these triggers, such as trees in summer, dust, damp indoor spaces, diesel smell, or the occurrence physical symptoms that are indicative of upper respiratory infections. This difficulty reflects for example on the association between perceived allergic triggers and allergy skin test results. The association between perceived allergens and skin prick test wheal sizes is sometimes stronger for triggers with a clearer phenomenal presentation, such as cats and dogs, than for less distinct triggers, such as pollen or molds . Similarly, the availability of a potent trigger that is easy to perceive may explain why smokers report fewer asthma triggers, especially allergic asthma triggers, compared to non-smokers .

What Are My Child’s Asthma Triggers

Triggers are different for each child. Some might cause asthma symptoms only at particular times of the year. Others might stop being a trigger as a child gets older and “outgrows” asthma.

You’ll work with your doctor to find your child’s triggers. The doctor may suggest keeping an asthma diary to record your child’s symptoms, medicines, and peak flow readings. You can also write down when and where symptoms happened to help you identify possible triggers.

If your doctor thinks allergens are triggers, your child might need an allergy skin test.

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Once I Know What My Asthma Triggers Are What Should I Do

If possible, avoiding the trigger is the best strategy. By avoiding allergens, you will have less inflammation and fewer symptoms.1

You may need to make several changes to control the allergens in the home.1 Making just one change is rarely enough. For example, if you are allergic to dust mites, using an impermeable bedcover alone may help, but will not solve the problem. You may also need to wash your bedding in hot water each week or remove carpeting from the room.1 The specific steps will depend on the asthma trigger.

One general recommendation is to start with things in your bedroom that trigger asthma.1 For example, keep pets out of the bedroom if removing a pet from the home is not an option.

Perception Of Contingencies Between Triggers And Symptoms

What is Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Accurate identification of asthma triggers is dependent upon the accurate perception of a contingency between the trigger and asthma symptoms. Humans and animals can be very adept at identifying contingencies and rely on this ability to reduce uncertainty and unpredictability in their environment . In asthma and allergies, contingency perception is used to predict and avoid onset of asthma symptoms. However, contingency perception is often biased. Several studies have shown that perceived intensity or unpleasantness of an event is associated with an overestimation of the contingency between this event and preceding cues . Because perceived unpleasantness and contingency perception are associated, this may also explain the discrepancy between self-reported allergy symptoms versus their diagnosis and treatment . Indeed, in a survey on underdiagnosis and undertreatment of allergic rhinitis, patients reported that they have had symptoms for quite some time, but only started seeking diagnosis and treatment when their symptoms became intolerable . If individuals with rhinitis perceive their symptoms to be present yet of little importance, this may not only lead to underdiagnosis and undertreatment, but may also leave these individuals less inclined to identify and avoid triggers of their symptoms.

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About Pets And Asthma

Proteins in your pet’s skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva and hair can trigger asthma. Dogs, cats, rodents and other warm-blooded mammals can trigger asthma in individuals with an allergy to animal dander.

The most effective method to control animal allergens is to not allow animals in the home. If you remove an animal from the home, it is important to thoroughly clean the floors, walls, carpets and upholstered furniture.

Some individuals may find isolation measures to be sufficiently effective. Isolation measures that have been suggested include keeping pets out of the sleeping areas, keeping pets away from upholstered furniture, carpets and stuffed toys, keeping the pet outdoors as much as possible and isolating sensitive individuals from the pet as much as possible.

Why Do People Get Asthma

Research has yet to show a definitive cause of asthma. However, researchers have determined several risk factors that can lead to asthma development.

Family History and Genetics

Children of mothers with asthma are three times more likely to suffer from asthma, and 2.5 times more likely if the father has asthma. More than 30 genes have been linked to asthma so far, and gene-gene interactions, gene-environment interactions and epigenetic modifications also play a part. Genetic differences also play a role in differences in response to treatment.


People are more likely to have asthma if they have certain types of allergies, such ones which can affect the eyes and nose. However, not everyone who has allergies will get asthma and not everyone who has asthma is affected by allergies. Respiratory allergies and some types of asthma are related to an antibody called immunoglobulin E , which the immune system produces in response to allergens. To protect the body, the IgE causes allergic reactions that can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin.

Premature Birth

Children born before 37 weeks are at increased risk of developing asthma later in life.

Lung Infections

Babies or small children may be at risk of developing asthma later in life if they had certain lung infections at a very early age.

Occupational Exposures


Women can develop adult-onset asthma during or after menopause.

Environment Air Quality


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What Causes Asthma

Asthma often starts during childhood when your immune system is still developing. Multiple factors may work together to cause it, such as:

  • Things in the environment that affected you as a baby or young child, which may include cigarette smoke or certain germs
  • Viral infections that affect breathing
  • Family history, such as a parent who has asthma

These can affect how your lung develops or how your body fights germs. Other things that may raise the risk of developing asthma include the following.

  • Allergies: Asthma is usually a type of allergic reaction. People who have asthma often have other types of allergies, such as food or pollen.
  • Obesity: This condition raises your chances of developing asthma or making your asthma symptoms worse.
  • Race or ethnicity: African Americans and Puerto Ricans are at higher risk of asthma than people of other races or ethnicities are. African American and Hispanic children are more likely than non-Hispanic white Americans to die from asthma-related causes.
  • Sex: More boys than girls have asthma as children, while asthma is more common among women in teens and adults.
  • Occupational hazards: Breathing in chemicals or industrial dusts in the workplace can raise your risk of developing asthma.

Is It An Emergency

Overview of Asthma: Causes, Symptoms,Types, Risk Factors and its Treatment

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.

If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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About Cockroaches Other Pests And Asthma

Droppings or body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins are found in cockroach feces and saliva and can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals.

Cockroaches are commonly found in crowded cities and the southern regions of the United States. Cockroach allergens likely play a significant role in asthma in many urban areas.

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.

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List Of Potential Asthma Triggers

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Asthma is a multifaceted disease. Its a heterogeneous disease, meaning it presents differently from one person to another. So, this means that one person may have many different asthma triggers. It means that different asthmatics may have triggers that are unique to the individual. That said, here is a running list of all the asthma triggers I can think of.

Tips To Reduce Exposure To Cigarette Smoke

Asthma and Your Child

Aim for a smoke-free environment, both for yourself and your children. If you smoke, speak to your doctor about quitting. If you are pregnant and you smoke, your child is at much greater risk of asthma. Babies of mothers who smoke are 4 times more likely to develop asthma.

Do not allow anyone to smoke in your home. Smoking in a small area like a car is especially bad and opening the windows does not help. Even if you do not smoke near your children, the smoke remains in your clothes and can still affect children.

Talk to your doctor about how to quit smoking. There are a range of effective medical prescriptions available to support this important step. Call Quit Tel. .

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Bronchoconstriction Due To Trigger Perception

Perception of an environmental agent as an asthma trigger or suggestion that an pharmacological agent is an asthma trigger not only can elicit the perception of asthma symptoms but also can lead to an increase in bronchoconstriction, as the large literature on suggestion-induced bronchoconstriction shows . Although the effect of suggestion on bronchoconstriction and symptom perception appear to occur independently , both effects can be conceptualized as feed-forward mechanisms, motivating a person to get away from this context before more damage occurs. These feed-forward mechanisms may be involved in the maintenance of perceived trigger-symptom contingencies, which in turn may have an impact on asthma-related quality of life and may interfere with adequate self-management of asthma. Furthermore, there are large individual differences in the effect of suggestions on symptom experience and bronchoconstriction . Further investigation of these individual differences may also aide our understanding of asthma trigger perception.

How To Prevent And Avoid Pet Dander

The recommends taking the following steps to reduce pet dander:

  • using mattress and pillow covers that prevent allergens
  • ensuring that pets are kept out of the bedroom
  • using a HEPA filtration air purifier
  • washing pets with fur frequently

notes that pollen exposure contributes to increased numbers of hospital admissions due to worsening asthma symptoms.

The different types of pollen can include:

  • tree pollen
  • weed pollen
  • grass pollen

Additionally, thunderstorms can lead to worsened symptoms of asthma because the rain hits the pollen, breaking them up. The wind then spreads the pollen around, which makes them easy to inhale.

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What’s An Asthma Trigger

“Trigger” is a funny word for something that makes your asthma worse.

For example, petting your aunt’s cat or playing outside after the grass is cut are things that might “trigger” your asthma symptoms. You might get an asthma flare-up , which can make you cough, wheeze, or have trouble breathing.

People with asthma have different triggers. Some people have one or two, while others have a bunch. Triggers may change from winter to summer.

Mechanisms Of Asthma Trigger Identification

Asthma Triggers

Asthma trigger identification is a complex task. It requires perception of asthma symptoms, perception of potential asthma triggers, and perception of a contingency or causal relationship between potential asthma triggers and symptoms . Each of these components of trigger identification is associated with specific challenges. Furthermore, the components are not fully independent, as each of the components exerts an influence on the other. In pediatric asthma, the task of trigger identification may be further complicated by potential parent-child discordances on each of these components .

Key determinants of asthma trigger identification

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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.

How To Deal With Asthma Triggers

Avoiding your triggers

Write down the triggers you notice on your asthma action plan. Once youve worked out what triggers your asthma, you can start to avoid them if possible. It may also be a good idea to tell your friends and family what your triggers are, so they can help you to avoid them.

Common triggers such as cigarette smoke can be avoided by making sure nobody smokes inside your home and other places that you spend time.

Managing your asthma well

There are steps you can take to cut your risk of asthma triggers causing symptoms or an asthma attack:

  • Take your preventer medicine as prescribed this keeps inflammation down in your airways so youre less likely to react badly to triggers.
  • Use an asthma action plan to note down your triggers.
  • Go to your annual asthma reviews to make sure your treatment plan is giving you the best protection against your triggers and cutting your risk of an asthma attack. You can also check your inhaler technique.

Its important to always keep your reliever inhaler with you. This will help you deal with symptoms quickly as soon as they come on.

You can call our Helpline on 0300 222 5800 to talk to a respiratory nurse specialist about understanding your asthma triggers. Or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728.

Next review due January 2025

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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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