Indoor and outdoor environments play an important role in the development and management of asthma. Avoiding the things that bring on your asthma symptoms—your asthma triggers—is another important part of your asthma action plan.
Common Asthma Triggers
Allergens are substances that can cause you to have an allergic reaction. That is, in some people, the immune system sees them as “foreign” or “dangerous” and reacts in an exaggerated way to protect the body against them. Some common allergens are:
- Animal dander—scales or dried saliva from the hair, skin, or feathers of animals.
- Dust mites—tiny bugs that thrive in mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, and stuffed animals.
- Cockroach droppings.
- Pollen from trees and grass.
- Molds, both indoor and outdoor.
Irritants are things in the environment that may irritate your lungs, such as:
- Smoke (cigarettes, wood-burning fireplace or stove, wildfires)
- Air pollution, including ozone.
- Cold air or changes in weather like freezing temperatures, high humidity, and thunderstorms.
- Strong odors or sprays, such as perfumes, air fresheners, household cleaners, cooking fumes, paints, or varnishes.
Asthma and Exercise
Regular physical activity is good for all of us, including people with asthma, but can also trigger symptoms either during or right after being active.
The good news is that if you have good control of your asthma, exercise should not be a problem for you. In fact, most people with asthma should be able to participate in any physical activity they like without having asthma symptoms. Your healthcare provider may recommend using an inhaler about 15 minutes before exercise. This usually can prevent and control exercise-induced asthma.