Asthma Attack Triggers

According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, more than 260 million people were afflicted with asthma in 2019, and almost half a million people died from complications related to the disease. If you have asthma, how can you avoid triggering an attack, and who is most at risk for an attack? The following information on allergy attack triggers may help you prevent an attack.

Asthma Attack Triggers
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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a serious lung disease that affects adult women more than men but young boys more than young girls, obese adults and children more so than those who are at a normal weight, and it's exacerbated by inflammation. It afflicts those who live in urban areas more so than those in rural areas and isn't considered an autoimmune disorder. According to the WHO, it's a progressive disease that may be genetic.

When Does Asthma Show Up?

Asthma can appear in infants and children or it can be an adult-onset disease that can occur at any time. When it appears in childhood, it's usually due to a trigger. When it occurs in adulthood, it may be due to childhood asthma or various environmental factors. It can appear and disappear sporadically. It doesn't always linger indefinitely.

What Triggers an Asthma Attack?


For adults, about a third of asthma attacks are triggered by:



Hormonal fluctuations


Second-hand smoke

The workplace environment can trigger an asthma attack as can chemicals, dust, and mold. Although smoking doesn't trigger adult-onset asthma attacks, cigarette smoke can trigger an attack.

Pregnancy can also trigger the onset or reoccurrence of adult-onset asthma, and menopause can trigger the onset of asthma and asthma attacks in women who have never before had asthma.

Illnesses can often trigger adult-onset asthma or an asthma attack in those who already have the disease. The flu or a severe cold can trigger adult-onset asthma, as can several viruses or infections.

Asthma medications can have undesirable side effects that can worsen other health conditions, such as glaucoma or osteoporosis. Some medications can also trigger an asthma attack, such as aspirin, NSAIDs, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers. If you're using any of these and are experiencing an increased number of asthma attacks, contact your physician to see if there's an alternative to your current medication.

Allergies are a frequent trigger to an asthma attack. Depending on the type of allergy, this may be the easiest trigger to avoid. Common allergens that can trigger an asthma attack include:

Animal dander


Common allergens such as dust, mold, insects and pests, chemicals, and cleaning agents.





Stuffed animals

Many homes have wall-to-wall carpeting, which is a haven for many asthma triggers. Consider replacing your carpet with a hard surface such as laminate flooring, linoleum or tile. If that's not an option, use a vacuum that prevents allergens from entering the air and be sure to vacuum thoroughly and frequently.

Almost all products used in the home, whether for cleaning or personal care, have perfumes in them, which can wreak havoc with asthma and allergies. Discard those heavily scented items and instead replace them with unscented ones.

Stuffed animals are almost synonymous with children, but if you or your child are asthmatic, they can trigger an attack. Select hard-surface toys that can be washed with soap and water, or buy stuffed animals that are washable and wash them when you change your child's bedding.

Although some plants, such as peace lilies and English ivy, can be good for those with asthma, others such as violets, roses, ferns, spider plants, and ficus can trigger an attack. Peace lilies or English ivy can improve the environment for asthmatics because they filter indoor toxins from the air. Be careful not to overwater them, however, since that can cause mold to develop and aggravate asthma. Other types of plants can trigger an asthma attack because of their high pollen count, especially outdoor plants that generate wind-borne pollen.

Although pets are a part of many households, their dander and fur can trigger an attack, so if you have a pet, be sure to dust and vacuum frequently and consider investing in an air filter to help purify the air.

Since dust mites, rodents, and roaches can trigger an asthma attack, be sure to keep all surfaces clean, store garbage outside until trash day, and wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly in hot water to kill any organisms that may be in them.


Although childhood asthma is the same disease as adult-onset asthma, it may require different treatment because childhood asthma can't be cured and children face challenges that adults don't. Since childhood asthma attacks are the primary cause of hospitalizations, missed school days, and emergency room visits for children, managing their symptoms is critical. Otherwise, your child's lungs can be damaged and fail to develop properly. In addition, when a child's asthma isn't managed properly, it can jeopardize their health and even their life.

Since it's often difficult to determine whether your child is having an asthma attack or getting ill, it's important to schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor in Philly to determine the cause as well as the best treatment regimen for your child.

Living With Asthma

Although asthma is the leading chronic disease in children, it also affects more than 20 million adults in the U.S. There are five types of asthma, including non-allergic, seasonal, and allergic asthma. The type of treatment depends on the type of asthma, and it may not need year-round treatment, depending on the type. If you or your child have asthma, it's important to avoid triggering an attack and follow your doctor's guidelines for treatment.

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