Asthma Triggers

Asthma Triggers Explained

Environmental triggers are often regarded as the main precursors to asthma attacks. A trigger may be defined as a substance, organism, infection, even an emotional state or situation which sets the stage for the symptoms of asthma to appear. These symptoms may include both rapid and procedural reactions of inflammation in the surface tissues of respiratory tract, and/or tightening of the muscles within the airway. All of these effects lead to trouble breathing at a varying degree, and as a result may lead to a condition known as an asthma attack, when the symptoms onset rapidly and escalate off one another. In order to keep your symptoms in check, it is important to understand what exactly these asthma triggers are and what can be done to avoid them.

Triggers of Asthma in the Environment

Triggers vary from person to person, so it's important for asthma sufferers to consider their own personal triggers, based on their own experiences and personal histories. In other words, whenever you have an asthma attack, you should take some time afterwards to think about what may have caused it. Was one trigger present in your environment, or perhaps more than one? Were you ill or feeling stressed and/or emotional?

By becoming more self-aware, you'll be able to compile a personal list of triggers, which may include:

  • Dust,
  • Animal dander,
  • Insects and mold,
  • Plant pollen,
  • Viral infections,
  • Pollution in the air,
  • Major physical exertion,
  • Chilly air, wind,
  • Tobacco smoke,
  • Household chemicals,
  • Cleaning agents,
  • Cologne and aftershave,
  • Various beauty and body-care products,
  • Strong emotions, anxiety and stress.

You probably already know that some of these triggers affect you in a mild, moderate or severe way. This list is designed to help you think about other triggers which you may be unaware of.

Asthma and Allergy

Numerous researches indicate that over 45% of all major symptoms and "attack" events of asthma are directly or indirectly caused by allergies. That's true for about half of the USA's 20 million population of asthma sufferers. For example, being sensitive to common household mold does not necessarily mean that you cannot get comfy in a room if there's is half a speck of mold in the air, although extreme cases such as this do exist. You probably will not notice any significant discomfort at first, but over time you will most likely experience a gradual decline in your wellbeing as your symptoms progress, seemingly for no apparent reason at all. Things like this can make it somewhat difficult to determine exactly what kind of irritant is causing your symptoms to flare, since an ordinary, clean-looking room can contain anything from mold, dust, pollen, animal dandruff, and a multitude of other things practically invisible to the naked eye. The only way to deal with these irritants is to establish an approach to maintain your household as allergen-free as possible.

Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Keeping your home environment as clean and free of allergens as possible will help your organism for a galore of reasons. By viewing your home as a sanctuary from outside triggers, you'll create a safe place to relax.

Here are some considerations on what you can do:

  • It is a good idea to get equipped with a HEPA filter for your vacuum cleaner. This filter has the capacity to remove most asthma triggers from under your feet, and is generally inexpensive. Certain custom devices and hand-held vacuums will also allow you to use the same filtering system on whatever else you want made allergen free, be that curtains, furniture, hard to reach places, etc.
  • Having hardwood flooring in your house or room is a thing to consider, since it is much easier to clean and keep allergen free, whereas carpets tend to accumulate all kinds allergens no matter how persistent you are at cleaning them.
  • In general, you should avoid cluttering up your home with blankets, area rugs, cushions and other soft fabric items which may accumulate dust and pollen.
  • Artificially scented products including soaps, shampoos, body lotions, aftershaves, colognes, and other personal care items may end up playing the bad guy in getting your asthma worse. A lot of natural solutions are available to replace them.
  • Things like cleaning agents, dish soap, and laundry solutions as well as other forms of household chemicals may also contribute to the worsening of asthma. If you can, have someone else handle these substance while doing chores, or swap to natural detergents and cleaning supplies.
  • Many asthmatics agree that installing an air conditioning system can provide a healthier environment, since it may help filter away unwanted allergens without you having to constantly be on alert. Keep in mind that not all conventional a/c systems are fit for this purpose, and you may need to order a custom filter.
  • During peak seasons of hay fever, you can track local pollen counts via various online services and the TV. This way, you will be able to decide whether it is preferable to stay in your neighborhood, or move somewhere with less bloom for the week, if possible.
  • If your symptoms do not improve from environmental awareness alone, it may be time to talk to your doctor about a more reliable medical solution, such as long-term treatment. As beneficial as it may be, simple avoidance of triggers may prove of little use if your asthma grows in severity.

Asthma Facts and Myths

Not all things you see or hear about asthma triggers are true. A number of baseless hypotheses and exaggerations exist that tend to overdramatize certain aspects of environmental awareness for asthmatics.

Consider these asthma facts:

  • Gentle, in-exhaustive exercise is not likely to trigger asthma attacks or worsen your condition, so the idea that exercise is always a trigger for this disorder is a bit of a myth. While serious physical exertion may be a trigger, most forms of calming, relaxing exercise may actually be beneficial.
  • Moving to another climate which is perceived as “asthma-friendly” may not always be the answer to your health woes, so don't waste too much time focusing on moving away from triggers. Everyone's case of asthma is quite unique, and relocating to an “asthma-friendly” place such as Daytona Beach or Seattle may not actually do your asthma any good.
  • Another thing you have to understand that it is not possible to keep all of the potential asthma triggers in check when going about your daily lives. Statistically, only about 20% off all the potential irritants can be dealt with by removing them from your environment or preventing contact. Unless your asthma is especially severe, simply having your rescue inhaler within arm's reach may be the most sensible thing to do, using your better judgment when necessary. You can't have a single disease dictate your whole way of life by utterly limiting who you are and what it is you want to do.
  • One of the most misguided concepts out there is that natural remedies and clever avoidance tactics alone can safely keep asthma in check. Parents believe that if they keep their kids in a sort of a protective bubble and feed them herbs and stuff, they won't have to take any "heavy-hitting" medications. Regrettably, it doesn't work that way. The result of extremely thorough clinical and social research proves that. If your doctor says that your child will benefit from taking inhaled corticosteroids, or another form of long-term treatment, it is an undeniable truth, even if there are risks involved. The dangers from letting asthma silently develop under the concealment of home-made remedies are much more dire than even the most rare and severe side effects drugs for asmtha may bring.

That was our view on the effects of asthma triggers and ways to deal with them, we hope you found it useful. If you want more information, we have other articles available on the topic of asthma treatment.