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Common Asthma Triggers


Created: June 21, 2007

This overview of possible asthma triggers will help you figure out what might be setting off your asthma symptoms. Knowing what allergens and irritants triggers your symptoms is the first step to preventing asthma attacks.

One way to identify your triggers is to keep an asthma diary. You can also use that form to track your symptoms and your response to your treatment. Once you know more about what is happening, you can talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your asthma.

1. Allergens

Allergens is the medical term for inhaled substances that cause an allergic reaction, such as pollen, dust, mold, animal dander, and cockroach allergens. Sometimes you need repeated exposure over a long period before you start to have asthma symptoms in response to an allergen.

2. Irritants

Irritants are substances that do not cause an allergic reaction, but that do irritate the airways, causing asthma symptoms. Examples of irritants are smoke, chemical fumes, perfume, strong odors from paint or cooking, and air pollution.

3. Other Triggers

This is a miscellaneous category of triggers, and can include a number of different substances or situations that may set off asthma symptoms. Other triggers include emotional stress, cold air, medicines such as aspirin or beta-blockers, sulfites in food or wine, and respiratory infections. In some people, even hard laughing or crying can trigger asthma symptoms.

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