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10 Most Common Triggers of Asthma & How to Avoid Them

“Health is Wealth”, it is said.

When we feel fit and fine, anything can be achieved. Thus becoming a victim of a disease can be disheartening and change a lot for us. One very common ailment is Asthma which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is present in 1 in every 13 people which is about 8% or 25 million of the total population! This large section is noted to be a leading reason for many absenteeisms in schools and offices. Though there is no permanent cure to this till date, there are effective prevention and treatment methods to try and manage the patient’s condition in the best way possible.

Knowing YOUR Trigger Is Half The Job Done:

Asthma triggers vary from each patient to patient. One person may be prone to just one trigger, another person could be prone to multiple triggers. Some could have unique triggers and some could have one among the most common triggers. In a way, identifying these personal triggers is a bigger challenge than treating the symptoms of asthma. Once a patient understands the root cause of the asthma attacks, it automatically becomes easier for them to treat and manage it accordingly. This is where “provocation tests” come into play.

While provocative tests help in identifying the asthma triggers to a certain degree, there is, unfortunately, no sure shot method discovered to identify the trigger, so far. Further, not everybody would have access to or probably can afford such tests. Thus, MedPlus brings to you a set of the most common asthma triggers. Being informed about these will allow you to prevent/manage asthma attacks to the best. Read on to know some useful tips and tricks:

Hidden Triggers At Your Own House:

1. The creepy cockroaches and their droppings: The basic trick is to keep the house completely free from food remains. Vacuum clean your house especially at cockroach-drawn spots every 2-3 days once. Arrange for a pest control spray treatment once in every 3-6 months depending on the requirement.

2. The filthy dust mites: Invisible to the naked eye, dust mites are there in every house usually glued to pillows, curtains, beds, sofas etc. Wash them all once or twice every week, depending on need-basis, in extremely hot water to inactivate the mites. You could also use mite-proof covers to be safe. Try and keep stuffed toys outside the bedroom to avoid inhalation throughout the night.

3. Keep your pets but be careful: We understand that animal lovers would not agree to find new home(s) for their pet(s). In which case, to keep animal dander away, it is suggested not to allow the pet(s) inside the bedroom of the asthma patient. Also, please do note that shaving/trimming your pet’s fur won’t help because fur is not the problem. Instead, ensure vacuuming the sofa sets, floors and corners of the house frequently. We suggest wet mopping the floor and properly drying it thereby, once a week. Wash your hands and also change your clothes if possible, after playing with your pet.

4. Stay away from molds: Molds are formed at places with high humidity or water. Avoid leaving the buckets, mugs or bathtubs wet and fix leaking taps or pipes immediately. If possible, buy and use a hygrometer with which you can constantly check the humidity levels which should not cross beyond 50%.

The Obvious Outdoor Ones:

1. Believe them when they say ‘tobacco kills’: Both active and passive smoking can trigger asthma. If you smoke yourself, it is time to quit for more than just one reason. And in case you are a second-hand smoker, stay away from the active smokers as much as possible. In unavoidable cases, wear a coat while with them and preferably leave it outside the house/bedroom later on.

2. Air pollution is destroying more than just the Ozone Layer: Visiting places where wood is burned, industrial plants (with fumes, odors), automotive fumes, chemical industries (with strong odors) etc should be avoided. Staying fully away from pollution is obviously not practical. As alternatives, patients could use face masks, travel in cars/closed shed vehicles as much as possible, avoid day long outings in places with high pollution levels etc. Pollen is another leading trigger, to avoid which, the patient should avoid actions like cutting grass, drying clothes outside or leaving house doors/windows open throughout the day.

Fighting Risks From Health Ailments:

1. Stay strong for good: Emotional outbursts of joy as well as sorrow, both can lead to a condition called hyperventilation in which the person tends to breathe extremely fast which can, in turn, result in an asthma attack. Therefore, it is important for asthma patients to avoid emotional stress, anxiety and follow a healthy diet/sleep routine.

2. Exercise but start slow: We have all heard stories of the goodness of exercising. However, a popular misconception is that asthma patients end up with EIB (Exercise Induced Bronchoconstriction). The secret is to start slow and then gradually increase the pace. With that, one can mitigate the chances of EIB. Regular exercising with mindfulness strengthens the body and keeps asthma in control to a great extent.

3. Dealing with nature: Extreme weather conditions or sudden changes in climate can be harsh on asthma patients. Though there is not much we can do in this one, ensuring to keep oneself warm during cold seasons, or vice versa can prove helpful to a certain extent.

4. Others: Acid reflux (both with or without heartburn), some medications like aspirin or other NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, beta blockers etc, viral/bacterial injections like flu, common cold, sinus are all some of the other triggers of asthma and can be dealt on individual basis.

Written by MedPlus