If you have asthma, you know the struggle. The struggle of holding yourself back from doing vigorous physical activities, or going to the hills that may have low oxygen levels, wearing a mask most of the time, or taking some medicine throughout the day. 

But even when asthma is a chronic disease, it can still be managed if you take the right steps and make a few lifestyle adjustments. These adjustments must be made after you know your triggers. An asthma trigger refers to any substance, action, or situation that exacerbates asthma symptoms. Exposure to a trigger can lead to a rapid deterioration of symptoms, commonly referred to as an asthma attack, episode, or flare-up. These triggers may be smoke, change in weather, physical activities, to name a few. 

Hence, it becomes essential to identify these triggers to avoid asthma attacks. This blog will help you identify these triggers to help you establish the right course of action. 

Identifying triggers and managing asthma

One effective method for pinpointing asthma triggers involves closely observing the pattern of asthma symptoms. For instance, if symptoms predominantly manifest at home, it suggests a potential involvement of something within that environment. Seasonal variations, such as symptoms worsening in spring or fall, may indicate an outdoor allergy to specific pollen types prevalent during those times, like tree pollen in spring or ragweed pollen in fall.

At the same time, if the triggers are often linked with change in temperature, i.e., if they start in the morning when you wake up, it can be because of a change in temperature. In this case, you must avoid using air conditioners or heaters. You can also consider reducing the temperature. 

Allergic asthma triggers 

Allergens refer to substances capable of inducing an allergic reaction. They are significant triggers for many individuals with asthma.

Indoor allergens

People with asthma commonly exhibit sensitivity to indoor allergens, particularly:

  • Dust mites
  • Mould
  • Animal danders (skin, fur, saliva)
  • Cockroaches

Controlling indoor asthma triggers 

Avoiding all allergens may be challenging, but you can minimise their presence in your home. Concentrate on the areas where your child sleeps and plays:

  • Maintain cleanliness and reduce dust in these spaces as much as possible. Implement a weekly routine of vacuuming and dusting, declutter the area, discard unnecessary stuffed animals, and regularly wash other stuffed animals in hot water.
  • Launder sheets weekly using hot water and replace feather pillows and comforters.
  • Utilise hypoallergenic covers for the mattress, box spring, and pillows.
  • Remove rugs and carpets whenever feasible.
  • Regularly clean washable curtains.
  • Ensure proper cleaning and ventilation in damp areas like bathrooms, basements, and laundry rooms to prevent mould and mildew. Use dehumidifiers in such areas.
  • Employ bait traps or professional extermination methods to eliminate cockroaches from your home. Maintain a clean kitchen and keep stacks of paper to a minimum.

Outdoor allergens

Asthma symptoms that worsen outdoors during specific times of the year are likely linked to allergies to pollen or mould (often found in decaying vegetation).

Controlling outdoor asthma triggers

Those affected are advised to stay indoors as much as possible during the season when their asthma tends to flare. Utilise air conditioning when available, and keep windows closed. Engaging in outdoor activities or exercises that require exertion should be avoided when air pollution or pollen levels are elevated. Following outdoor exposure during periods of high pollen or mould counts, individuals can take a bath and shampoo to eliminate lingering allergens.

Patients should also steer clear of activities like grass cutting, plant digging, or other outdoor pursuits that appear to exacerbate asthma symptoms.

Closing thoughts

Recognising your triggers and minimising exposure may decrease the necessity for medication and enhance your asthma condition. Your healthcare provider can aid in identifying what exacerbates your asthma and devise straightforward solutions for minimising and steering clear of these triggers.

In conjunction with a thorough medical history and physical examination, an allergy blood test will assist a healthcare provider in creating a personalised treatment strategy for allergic symptoms. Blood tests or skin tests can contribute valuable information about potential asthma triggers by determining whether an individual is sensitised or allergic to specific substances.

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