If you have been diagnosed with asthma or believe that you may be suffering from this conditions, then it is important to understand the elements that can trigger an asthma episode. Asthma triggers can consist of many circumstances and educating yourself on these can help you control your medical condition. In this article we will explore the different avenues that can trigger asthma symptoms. These triggers may be responsible for setting off your asthma attacks.
What are asthma triggers? Asthma triggers are physical and emotional element that initiates an asthma attack. When these triggers are introduced to the body they will worsen an asthma attack Keeping a journal of asthma episodes will help you in determining your triggers so that you can avoid them. Here is a list and explanation of the most common asthma triggers.
What are Environmental Triggers?
Seasonal allergies are responsible for worsening asthma symptoms. Pollen will irritate the airways of those individuals with asthma. This occurs in the spring and early summer when pollen is at its peak from trees and grasses. Weeds are responsible for pollen in the summer and fall. There is little that can be done to avoid this problem, but you can cut down on the weeds around your home. For those with asthma, the chemicals used to kill the weeds will also aggravate asthma symptoms. One simple way to eradicate weeds without the use of toxic chemical is by pouring boil water over them. Molds can also form in areas during the spring rainy season. Address any areas in your home that has water standing such as with a damp basement. Check for elements in your yard that hold water and address them. This will not only help your breathing, but it will cut down on mosquito infestation which is a whole other issue. Cold air can trigger an asthma attack so try to avoid introducing cold air and wind into the lungs. Stay indoors during this time and when you do go out, cover your mouth with a scarf. When riding in vehicles, keep the windows up. Just use common sense where this is concerned. Certain geographical locations have increased incidence of asthma episodes. This year the top three locations are Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina respectively.
What are Allergen Triggers?
Other than the usual seasonal allergies many factors can initiate and allergy response that can lead to worsening of asthma. House dust contains many materials that aggravate the lungs. It can consist of food and bug particles, dust mites, cockroach and mice droppings, hair, dander, and the list goes on and on. A spring cleaning is in order to lessen allergy symptom. Use care when vacuuming and if you vacuum doesn’t have the appropriate filter, then have someone else vacuum for you. If you have asthma it would be wise to invest in a good vacuum cleaner or avoid carpet in the home.
Animal dander can flare an asthma attack. Dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, or any furry animal may not be your best friend. Consider these triggers when deciding to keep an animal inside, outside, or period with an asthma diagnosis. I suffer from asthma, however, animals are not a trigger for me.
Foods can be allergens. Shellfish, peanuts, eggs, milk, and soy. Some foods have been known to produce severe asthma attacks. Sulfites found in wines and alcoholic beverages can also spur and allergic response and secondary asthma attack. This is why making a journal is so important for controlling your asthma.
Chemicals and fumes are other allergens that irritate the airways. Epoxides, formaldehydes, and many cleaning agents can cause a reaction in the airways. These should be avoided by those with allergies. Some people are allergic to latex gloves as well. All of these can be asthma triggers.
What are Irritant Triggers?
Then there are products that just plain irritate the airways. Tobacco smoke, pollution, automotive fumes, chemical sprays, paints, perfumes, hairsprays, nail polish remover, and detergents. Aspirin and other medications can cause an asthma attack that can be life threatening in some individuals. Physical factors such as gastro esophageal reflux, upper respiratory infection like the rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and influenza virus can lead to asthma attacks.
Exercise can cause narrowing of the airways and produce an exercise induced asthma attack. This occurs less frequently with swimming and more with jogging. Emotional responses to stressful situations can also be responsible for an asthma attack. This is how I had my first asthma attack. During an argument with my significant other I started to wheeze. This went into full blown stridor within second. Stridor is a condition of high pitched wheezing due to very narrow airways.
By creating and keeping a journal of episodes of wheezing, you can narrow down what factors trigger your asthma. Taking this journal to your doctor or pulmonologist will allow them to devise an asthma control plan that will meet your needs.