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Stay away from asthma triggers

Asthma triggers
Dust mite-proof pillow cover

Description

It is important to know what things make your asthma worse. These are called asthma "triggers." Avoiding them is your first step toward feeling better.

Our homes can be filled with asthma triggers, found within:

Alternative Names

Asthma triggers - stay away from; Asthma triggers - avoiding; Reactive airway disease - triggers; Bronchial asthma - triggers

Stay Away From Smoking

If you smoke, ask your health care provider for help quitting. No one should smoke in your house. This includes you and your visitors.

Smokers should smoke outside and wear a coat. The coat will keep smoke particles from sticking to their clothes. They should leave the coat outside or away from your child.

Ask people who work at your child's day care, preschool, school, and anyone else who takes care of your child, if they smoke. If they do, make sure they do not smoke near your child.

Stay away from restaurants and bars that allow smoking. Or, ask for a table as far away from smokers as possible.

Pollen

When pollen levels are high:

Dust Mites

You can take several steps to limit exposure to dust mites.

Mold Spores

Keeping indoor humidity at less than 50% will keep mold spores down. To do so:

Pets can Make Asthma Worse

Keep pets with fur or feathers outside, if possible. If pets stay inside, keep them out of bedrooms and off upholstered furniture and carpets.

Wash pets once a week if possible.

If you have a central air conditioning system, use a HEPA filter to remove pet allergens from indoor air. Use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters.

Wash your hands and change your clothes after playing with your pet.

Roaches and Rodents

Keep kitchen counters clean and free of food crumbs. DO NOT leave dirty dishes in the sink. Keep food in closed containers.

DO NOT let trash pile up inside. This includes bags, newspapers, and cardboard boxes.

Use roach traps. Wear a dust mask and gloves if you touch or are near rodents.

Other Triggers to Watch Out for

DO NOT use wood-burning fireplaces. If you need to burn wood, use an airtight wood-burning stove.

DO NOT use perfumes or scented cleaning sprays. Use trigger sprays instead of aerosols.

Discuss any other possible triggers with your provider and how to avoid them.

References

Bergstrom J, Kurth M, Hieman BE, et al. Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement website. Health Care Guideline: Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. 11th ed. www.icsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Asthma.pdf. Updated December 2016. Accessed February 28, 2018.

Custovic A, Tovery E. Allergen control for prevention and management of allergic diseases. In: Adkinson NF Jr, Bochner BS, Burks AW, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 86.

Durrani SR, Busse WW. Management of asthma in adolescents and adults. In: Adkinson NF Jr, Bochner BS, Burks AW, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 55.


Review Date: 2/18/2018
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 02-25-19: Editorial update.