What are the 9 Common Asthma Triggers?

Child at asthma consultation appointment with doctor in Newport

Everyone reacts to potential asthma triggers differently. If you or your child has asthma, you could be one asthma trigger away from an asthma attack. That’s why it’s essential to know your or your child’s triggers so you can avoid them as much as possible. 

If you can’t avoid triggers, you should be prepared with asthma emergency relief medications and an easy to reach emergency contact list. 

This article discusses the nine most common asthma triggers, including second-hand smoke, air pollution, pet dander, dust, and more. Continue reading to learn more. 

1. Second-Hand Smoke

Second-hand smoke from tobacco, marijuana, and vape smoke can be harmful to healthy people. However, they are particularly dangerous for individuals with asthma. Generally, adults and children with asthma should avoid smoke inhalation at all costs. That means living in a smoke-free environment and avoiding places where people smoke. 

If someone in your household smokes, you should encourage them to quit, or at the very minimum, smoke in a location away from home. 

2. Air Pollution 

Outdoor air pollution can trigger asthma in children and adults. That’s especially true for individuals that live in the city, near the highways, or in otherwise polluted areas. However, outdoor pollution isn’t limited to major cities. Wildfires and brush burning can also trigger an asthma attack or re-emergence of severe asthma symptoms. 

If you have asthma, it’s best to pay close attention to the air quality forecasts and plan your or your child’s day accordingly. 

3. Dust Mites

Dust mites are invisible asthma triggers that reside in many homes. They are tiny microscopic bugs that can adversely affect anyone’s respiratory system, especially people with asthma. A few tips to help limit the likelihood of dust mite-triggered asthma attacks include: 

  • Purchase allergen-proof mattress covers and pillowcases
  • Avoid the use of comforters, pillows, or quilts filled with down feathers 
  • Regularly wash your bedding, and don’t use it until completely dry
  • Vacuum floors, rugs, and carpet regularly

4. Pests

No one likes pests (i.e., roaches, rats, and similar). Here’s another reason to limit pests in your home; they can lead to an asthma attack. A few of the best methods to control infestations include: 

  • Clean up spilled drinks or crumbs immediately 
  • Store food in the refrigerator or airtight containers 
  • Ensure your trash can stays closed 
  • Use traps and bait (within the manufacturer specifications)
  • Limit the use of pesticides, sprays, foggers, etc. as they can induce asthma attacks

5. Family Pets  

Most people love pets. However, pets (specifically pet dander) can lead to severe asthma attacks. Sometimes, there is no option but to rehome the pet. In other cases, you can manage pet-induced asthma attacks by: 

  • Using an air filtration system with a HEPA filter
  • Regularly washing pets (a groomer can be a great option)
  • Avoid pets in the bedroom 
  • Use allergen-proof mattress, pillow, and sofa covers

It’s important to note that pet dander is not pet fur. Generally, pet hair does not cause asthma attacks, but dander can. 

6. Mold 

Mold is dangerous for any human, but even more so for people with asthma. Generally, mold is a big possibility anywhere there is water. You can find household mold in damp walls, bathrooms, kitchens, garages, etc. A few tips to reduce mold exposure include: 

  • Fix water damages as soon as possible
  • Maintain minimal indoor humidity 
  • Ensure appropriate airflow in the bathroom and kitchen 
  • Get rid of mold (safely) as soon as you see it
  • Enlist professional mold removal services 

7. Cleaning Products 

Cleaning products and disinfectants are well-known asthma triggers. Generally, individuals with asthma should avoid using most household cleaning products unless they are safe. Soap and water can be great alternatives. Further, be sure to: 

  • Have appropriate air ventilation when using any cleaning products
  • Avoid mixing products
  • Avoid dust disturbances 
  • Get away from recently used cleaning products if you feel the onset of an asthma attack

8. Colds and Infections 

Colds, infections, and certain respiratory viruses can trigger severe asthma attacks. If you catch a cold, it’s essential to contact a pediatric pulmonology specialist as soon as possible to mitigate the risk of an asthma attack. 

9. Additional Triggers 

Asthma triggers can come in many forms. In addition to the previously mentioned triggers, other possible triggers include: 

  • Toxic chemicals 
  • Acid reflux
  • Physical exercise (especially in cold weather)
  • High humidity
  • Certain foods
  • Perfumes and colognes 
  • Stress

Contact a Pediatric Pulmonology Specialist Today

If your child has asthma, contact Newport Children’s Medical Group to schedule an appointment with a pediatric pulmonology physician today. Our pediatric pulmonology team can help you address your concerns and develop a plan that will keep your child safe.