Triggers A-Z


Asthma triggers explained

A trigger is something which brings on your asthma symptoms. You may find, for example, that being around cats or dust sets your symptoms off. Or it might be pollen, cold weather, or being near someone who’s smoking. What triggers your asthma symptoms may be different to what triggers someone else’s.

Cut your risk from asthma triggers

“It’s impossible to avoid all triggers but you can cut your risk of developing asthma symptoms when you’re exposed to them”, says Dr Samantha Walker, Asthma UK. “Latest research highlights two key things you can do to reduce the effect of asthma triggers”:
  • Keep your asthma as well controlled as possible. This means you’ll have less of a reaction if you do come into contact with any triggers. The best ways to do this are:
    • Take your preventer medication exactly as your doctor has prescribed. It is specially designed to work away in the background every day to help reduce your body’s reaction to triggers you meet in your daily life.
    • Use an asthma action plan to help you identify when your asthma needs extra help and what to discuss with your doctor or asthma nurse. 
    • Get your asthma reviewed regularly, so you and your GP or asthma nurse can make sure the medicines you’re taking are doing the best possible job for you
  • Get to know which triggers affect you. Get advice on how to identify your triggers. Then use what you know to be prepared.
    • For example if cold air triggers your asthma try putting a scarf over your mouth and nose when you go from a warm house out into the cold air. 
    • If you know you react to dust or animals and you’re visiting a dusty house or someone with a pet, as well as taking your regular preventer inhaler morning and evening, ask your GP or asthma nurse about other medicines you might be able to take such as a steroid nasal spray or antihistamine.

Asthma triggers: expert advice

Identify your asthma triggers with expert advice from Debby Waddell, Asthma UK’s Clinical lead.

Reduce your trigger reactions

“Making sure your asthma is well controlled is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of reacting to your triggers”, says Debby Waddell, Asthma UK’s clinical lead. “The better controlled your asthma is, the more likely you are to cope better when you come into contact with your triggers. But knowing what your triggers are can also help you take simple steps to face them”.

Know your asthma triggers

“Living in the real world means it’s pretty impossible to avoid asthma triggers altogether for most people”, says Debby. “But if you know what your triggers are you can prepare yourself in advance with the right medication, or reduce the triggers where you can”.

  • Have you got obvious triggers?

The first step is to understand which things trigger your asthma. Often it’s obvious - for example, when your symptoms start within minutes of coming into contact with a cat or dog.

  • You might need a symptom diary

Sometimes it’s not easy to pinpoint exactly what triggers your asthma especially as sometimes people can have a delayed reaction to an asthma trigger. A bit of extra detective work may be needed - try keeping a diary of symptoms to work out what’s triggered them.

  • A specialist may be able to help

You could talk to your doctor about allergy testing and about the things you think you may be allergic to and they can then suggest which tests may be best but, because asthma can be triggered by lots of things which are not actually allergies, it may not give you a helpful result.

First Written: Oct 2014

Air pollutatns Air pollutants

The air we breathe contains lots of different particles that can trigger asthma symptoms.

Click here to read more

Sinister kitty!  Animals

Furry and feathery animals are a common trigger of asthma symptoms.

Click here to read more

Cold and viral infections Colds and viral infections

Colds and viral infections are very common triggers of asthma. They are also almost impossible to avoid.

Click here to read more

Asthma and emotions  Emotions

Stress or even a fit of laughter can trigger asthma symptoms, as can depression, financial problems, bereavement and extreme work-related stress.



Click here to read more

Exercise and asthma Exercise

Some people with asthma find that exercise triggers their asthma symptoms. However, exercise is good for everyone, including people with asthma.

Click here to read more

Food and asthma  Food

Most people with asthma do not have to follow a special diet. But, in some cases, certain foods, including cow's milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, yeast products, nuts, and some food colourings and preservatives, can make symptoms worse.

Click here to read more

Hormones and asthma Hormones

Some women find their asthma can be affected around puberty, before their periods, during pregnancy and during menopause.

Click here to read more

House dust mites  House dust mites

Many people with asthma are sensitive to the droppings of house-dust mites. These are tiny creatures that live in the dust that builds up around the house, in carpets, bedding, soft furnishings and soft toys.

Click here to read more

Healthy indoor environments for asthma Indoor environment

There are a number of things in your home that might trigger your asthma, and if you know what these are you can take steps to avoid them so that you reduce the risk of having asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.

Click here to read more

Medicines  Medicines

Some medicines that are used to treat a range of conditions can lead to asthma attacks in a small number of people.

Click here to read more

Moulds and fungi Moulds & fungi

Moulds release tiny seeds called spores into the air, which can trigger asthma symptoms in some people.

Click here to read more

Pollen and asthma  Pollen

Pollen can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. Pollen is a powder-like substance produced by certain types of trees, grasses, weeds and flowers.

Click here to read more

Salicylates Salicylates

Salicylate sensitivity is a reaction that causes symptoms similar to those of an allergic reaction, but it is not a true allergy in the strict medical sense.

Click here to read more

Sex and asthma  Sex

If you're concerned about your asthma symptoms becoming worse during sex, you can control your symptoms as you would with any form of exercise.

Click here to read more

Smog

Smog is a type of air pollution. It is caused by a mixture of gases and tiny particles (like smoke) in the air when it reacts to sunlight.

Click here to read more

Smoke and asthma  Smoke

It can be very difficult if you are exposed to any kind of smoke regularly as we know that cigarette or any tobacco smoke, barbecue, bonfire or chimney smoke can be a trigger for asthma and make asthma symptoms worse.

Click here to read more

Cigarettes Smoking

Smoking is dangerous for everyone, but particularly for people with asthma. It can irritate the lungs and bring on asthma symptoms.

Click here to read more

Lightning strike  Weather

Cold air, a sudden change in temperature, windy or hot, humid days and poor air quality are all known triggers for asthma.



Click here to read more


Help us by sharing this post
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Tweet this
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Google
  • LinkedIn