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Surprising Asthma Triggers You Can Learn to Avoid

Dusty bookshelves? Damp basement? Know these common asthma triggers.

If you have been diagnosed with asthma, you're aware that certain triggers can bring on an asthma attack. In this video, Dr. Preeti Parikh explains some common asthma triggers. Asthma attack symptoms can include wheezing, coughing, a tight feeling in the chest or shortness of breath. Asthma attacks may be brought on or triggered by allergies, the weather and exercise.

Allergic asthma triggers can include dust mites, which may live in your home. Mold is another allergic trigger, which can appear in damp, wet places such as showers and basements. Animals such as dogs and cats can trigger asthma, along with plants and pollen. Talk with your doctor to figure out your specific allergies, and whether these are asthma triggers. You may want to have an allergy test if you have not done so already.

Other common asthma triggers include cigarette smoke, getting sick with a cold or flu, stress, strong perfumes or odors, cold or dry air, pollution and exercise. Avoid these triggers if possible so that you don't experience a flare up in asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. You can take steps to avoid these triggers by getting your annual flu shot, avoiding the outdoors during times when air pollution is high, and wearing a scarf around your mouth and nose if the air is very cold or dry. If you smoke, you should consider quitting smoking, and distancing yourself from secondhand cigarette smoke. Avoid bleach and other strong chemical odors when cleaning. Even though exercise can be a trigger, doing light exercise will help keep you healthy in the long run.

Dr. Parikh shares some tips for dealing with exercise-induced asthma. First, talk to your doctor about using medication like an inhaler before working out. Avoid exercise near busy roads, and outdoor exercise during very cold weather. You'll know that your asthma is exercise-induced if you experience asthma symptoms 10-15 minutes after you finish working out. In some cases, you may even experience symptoms around 15 minutes after you start exercising. Symptoms should begin to go away after resting for 30 minutes to an hour.

If you know you will not be able to avoid asthma attack triggers, make sure you are prepared for an asthma attack and inform others around you.


Preeti Parikh, MD

This video features Preeti Parikh, MD. Dr. Parikh, a board-certified pediatrician affiliated with The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, is HealthiNation's chief medical editor.

Duration: 2:52. Last Updated On: Nov. 8, 2017, 6:14 p.m.
Reviewed by: Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: Dec. 14, 2015
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