Common Asthma Triggers

Asthma triggers vary from person to person. Below is a list of many common asthma triggers:

Allergens: Substances that can cause allergic reactions include pollen (trees, grasses and weeds), pet dander (cat, dog, horse, etc), dust mites (microscopic insects that live in bedding and eat dead human skin), molds and even cockroach droppings. Other allergens include those that are ingested instead of inhaled. Those can include shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts or even aspirin.

Irritants in the Air: These include smoke from cigarettes, wood fires or charcoal grills. 'Second-hand smoke" can trigger asthma attacks in people with the disease. Strong odors or fumes from items such as paints, sprays, perfumes, gasoline or other chemicals can "irritate" the airways and trigger an asthma attack. Pollution can be an irritant as well.

Respiratory Disease: Colds, flu, sore throats and sinus infections. These are the number one asthma triggers in children.

Physical Activities: Any activity that makes you breathe harder. Exercise—especially during cold air–is a frequent asthma trigger. Symptoms of exercise-induced asthma may not appear until after several minutes of sustained exercise. Laughing, crying, holding your breath or hyperventilating (rapid breathing) may also bring on asthma symptoms.

Weather: Dry wind, cold air or sudden changes in weather can also cause asthma symptoms in some people.

Expressing Strong Emotions: Anger, fear or excitement can change the way we breathe even if you don't have asthma. When a person with asthma laughs, cries hard or yells natural airway changes may cause asthma symptoms.