“Is this safe for my child?” Yes, we know the feeling! If you’ve got a child with asthma, every decision you make often comes with a lot of doubt. Of course, we don’t blame you! In fact, you’ve got every right to worry about all the potential asthma attack triggers out there!
From the cold, to the mold, asthma attack triggers are everywhere! But fret not, here you can learn more about 5 common asthma attack triggers and find some tips on how to avoid them!
5 Common asthma attack triggers!
1. Respiratory infections
Respiratory infections are a common asthma trigger. For instance, sinus infections or influenza viruses are known to trigger asthma as they often make airways swollen and narrow.
Here’s what you can do!
# Tip 1: Keep influenzas at bay
- Ensure your child gets an annual flu vaccine.
- Teach your kid good hand-washing habits.
- Keep your little one away from others who are sick with a cold or flu.
# Tip 2: Follow asthma best practices
- Always keep your child’s inhaler or other items clean.
- Never share asthma equipment.
- Follow your child’s asthma action plan if flu-like symptoms appear.
- Monitor your child’s progress regularly and consult a pediatrician if concerns arise.
Exposure to smoke, including tobacco smoke and smoke from burning wood or plants, can irritate the airways. To protect your little one from this asthma attack trigger, you can try these tips!
# Tip 3: Reduce exposure to smoke
- Do not allow smoking indoors.
- Avoid smoky areas (e.g. bars and pubs).
- Inform loved ones to stop smoking when your kid is around.
- Stay indoors if wildfires or bonfires are reported.
# Tip 4: Take extra precautions
- Get your little one to wear masks when outdoors or in smoky areas.
- Wash your clothes if you’ve gone to smoky areas.
3. Poor air quality
Poor air quality is also another one of the many common asthma attack triggers!
Essentially, air quality is affected by three factors: air pollution, airborne particles and the weather.
Air pollution (e.g. smog, vehicle exhaust, and fumes) worsens asthma. Besides that, it also contributes to ozone, a harmful gas that irritates airways.
If you stay in a polluted area, try this!
# Tip 5: Track air pollution around you
- Check air pollution levels on a daily basis.
- Schedule outdoor plans on days with low air pollution.
Additionally, airborne particles such as mold spores and pollen can also trigger asthma. For instance, when pollen is inhaled, our bodies produce histamine. This causes hay fever symptoms (e.g. runny nose, sneezing, and coughing). As you’d expect, this particularly worsens asthma.
Read these tips if you’re worried about pollen and other allergens in the air!
# Tip 6: Track pollen counts and mold in your area
- Check daily pollen forecasts.
- Do regular checks around the house for mold.
- Avoid parks or forested areas known for problematic plants.
# Tip 7: Adopt safe practices indoors
- Keep windows closed especially when out of the house.
- Invest in a dehumidifier to keep the house dry and mold-free.
- Check for leaks and fix them before mold grows.
Lastly, weather can also affect asthma in unexpected ways. Thunderstorms can cause mold spores in the air to become smaller. In turn, these spores could be more easily inhaled. This explains asthma attacks on rainy days.
Aside from this, cold weather can also trigger spasms and cause asthma symptoms such as wheezing and coughing. Similarly, breathing in cold air while rapidly could also cause an asthma attack.
Try these tips to stay ahead of uncertain weather conditions!
# Tip 8: Stay updated on the weather and air quality in your area.
- Check weather forecasts regularly.
- Keep track of the air quality in your region.
- Stay indoors whenever it is predicted to be cold or rainy.
# Tip 9: Help kids stay warm on cold days
- Wrap a clean scarf loosely over your child’s nose and mouth.
4. Dust mites and cockroaches
Dust mites are little bugs that exist in nearly every home. They thrive in warm, humid places. Commonly, they’re found in bedding, carpeting, and furniture. Incidentally, these mites produce harmful small particles, called allergens, that can trigger asthma attacks.
Likewise, cockroaches also produce similar allergens. These allergens can be found on their body parts or in their waste.
Use these tips to keep pests away!
# Tip 10: Make your home unfit for dust mites!
- Avoid using down-filled pillows or quilts.
- Make use of covers for mattresses and pillows.
- Get rid of stuffed toys or wash them regularly.
# Tip 11: Practice better hygiene to steer clear of cockroaches
- Clear scraps or crumbs left behind after meals.
- Use traps to keep your home pest-free.
- Call pest exterminators if you need extra help.
5. Pet dander
Although surprising, pets can also trigger asthma attacks. Furry or feathery pets such as cats, dogs, and birds often shed pet dander. Once these extremely small flecks of skin are breathed in, they could trigger an allergic reaction or asthma.
Unfortunately, pet dander also sticks to surfaces and fabrics. Hence, they can easily spread throughout the house. Try this tip if you’re worried about pet dander!
# Tip 12: Reduce pet dander indoors
- Avoid keeping pets. Rehome them if you already have one.
- If you’re a pet lover, create pet-free zones at home (e.g. bedrooms).
- Keep pets away from fabrics (e.g. carpets or furniture).
- Vacuum the house regularly.
- Bathe your pets regularly to keep their fur from shedding too much.
When your child has asthma, it can often feel like there are so many triggers that can endanger your child’s life. However, always remember that simple actions can help keep triggers far away. In any case, you can always reach out to your doctor and discuss more ways to keep your little one safe from harm!
Asthma Triggers and Management. (n.d.). American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/asthma-library/asthma-triggers-and-management
Asthma Triggers and What to do About Them. (2018, April 30). American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/allergies-asthma/Pages/Asthma-Triggers-and-What-to-do-About-Them.aspx
Air Pollution. (2015). Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. https://www.aafa.org/air-pollution-smog-asthma/
Common Asthma Triggers. (2018). Asthma Canada. https://asthma.ca/get-help/asthma-3/triggers-3/common-asthma-triggers/
Common Asthma Triggers. (2018). Asthma Respiratory Foundation NZ. https://www.asthmafoundation.org.nz/your-health/living-with-asthma/common-asthma-triggers
Dust mite allergy. (2018, May 16). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dust-mites/symptoms-causes/syc-20352173
Moulds and fungi. (2018). Asthma UK. https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/moulds-and-fungi/
Pollen. (2018). Asthma UK. https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/pollen/
Reduce Asthma Triggers. (2018, July 30). American Lung Association. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/living-with-asthma/managing-asthma/reduce-asthma-triggers.html
Tobacco Smoke and Asthma. (2017). Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. https://www.aafa.org/secondhand-smoke-environmental-tobacco-asthma/
What Causes or Triggers Asthma? (2015). Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. https://www.aafa.org/asthma-triggers-causes/
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