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Asthma Triggers

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects almost 25 million people in the United States, including roughly 7 million children. In fact, asthma almost always begins in childhood. People who suffer from asthma may experience recurring episodes of wheezing, chest tightness, and breathlessness due to the inflammation and narrowing of airways. Asthma can also cause night or early morning coughing.

While there is no cure for asthma, it can be controlled and treated with medication. Additionally, asthma can be managed by recognizing triggers and taking efforts to avoid them.

Common Asthma Triggers

Asthma triggers are factors that can cause asthma symptoms or make symptoms worse. Everyone with asthma doesn’t have the same triggers, so it’s important to know what triggers personally affect you. Some common asthma triggers include the following:

  • Play board games, cards, and sports. Emphasize playing “for fun” and respond to mistakes or losing with “it’s just a game” — spending time together is what’s important.
  • Dust Mites.
  • Mold.
  • Smoke (Tobacco, burning wood and grass, etc.).
  • Air Pollution.
  • Animal Dander.
  • Cockroaches (Droppings and remains).
  • Infections and Viruses (such as the flu and sinus infections).
  • Although physical activity may be a trigger for some, exercise is a significant part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Instead of avoiding physical activity, people with asthma should talk to their physicians about medicines they can take to help them remain active.

It’s a good idea to create an Asthma Action Plan with your doctor’s assistance. An action plan will help you better manage asthma—both routinely and during attacks. A sample Asthma Action Plan can be found by visiting the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Adapted and excerpted from:

What is Asthma?," National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (06/2012). 

Asthma,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (updated 04/2018).

What is Asthma,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (updated 04/2018).

Asthma—Basic Information,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (updated 01/2017).

How Can Asthma Be Prevented?," National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (06/2012).

Asthma Action Plan,” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (04/2007).

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