11 July 2011

Asthma Triggers

Several factors can trigger asthma symptoms, including:
  • Allergens
  • Irritants such as snuff smoke, strong odors
  • Changes in weather
  • Viral or sinus infections
  • Exercises
  • Reflux disease (stomach acid flows into the esophagus)
  • Drug
  • Food
  • Emotional distress
Each person has their own triggers. If you have asthma, you can minimize your symptoms by avoiding the trigger factors, and working with your doctor to develop an effective plan of treatment and control.


Allergic rhinitis or "hay fever" is a risk factor in the development of asthma. The symptoms of allergic rhinitis and asthma may be triggered by allergens , any substances that cause allergies, and can be:
  • Pollen
  • Moho
  • Animal dander
  • Dust mites in the house
  • Cockroach
  • Food
If your asthma is caused by allergens, it is important to avoid contact with them . See your allergist / immunologist for recommendations on control measures that will help you avoid allergens.


The inflamed airways of asthmatics are hypersensitive to environmental irritants. Irritants that can trigger and aggravate asthma include:
  • Air pollutants such as snuff smoke, wood smoke, chemicals in the air and ozone
  • Occupational exposure to vapors, dust, fumes and gases
  • Strong odors or sprays such as perfumes, household cleaners, hairspray, cooking fumes (especially from frying), paints and varnishes
  • Other particles in the air and coal dust, chalk dust or talcum powder
  • Change in weather, such as changes in temperature and humidity, barometric pressure changes or strong winds
These irritants can aggravate asthma, especially snuff smoke . Several studies have indicated a higher incidence of asthma in children whose mothers smoke. No one should smoke in the home of an asthmatic.


Viral infections such as colds or viral pneumonia can cause or aggravate asthma, especially in young children. These infections can irritate the respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs and breasts), and this often causes further irritation to asthma attacks . Furthermore, sinusitis , an inflammation of the hollow cavities around the eyes and behind the nose can cause asthma.


Strenuous physical exercise can also cause asthma attacks . Mouth breathing, exercising in cold, dry air, or prolonged strenuous activities such as running middle and long distance, can increase the chance of exercise-induced asthma (EIA). For more information visit the section on asthma and exercise

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acid flows into the esophagus, can affect patients with asthma. Symptoms can be severe or repeated heartburn, belching, night asthma, increased asthma symptoms after meals or exercise, or frequent cough and hoarseness. Treatment for GERD is also often beneficial for symptoms of asthma.


Some adults with asthma may experience an asthma attack due to certain medications such as aspirin or other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, and beta-blockers (used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine and glaucoma). Before taking any prescription medicine, people with asthma should consult a physician.


In some people, eating certain foods or eating certain ingredients can trigger asthma symptoms . These factors may be milk, eggs, nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. If any of these foods cause asthma attacks, the best remedy is to avoid

Emotional Anxiety

Emotional factors alone can not cause asthma. However, anxiety and nervous stress can cause fatigue, which in turn can increase asthma symptoms and aggravate an attack. As with any chronic condition, rest, nutrition and adequate exercise are important for overall wellbeing and can help manage asthma.

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