Common Asthma Attack Triggers

If you have asthma, you most likely have allergies as well. Just like allergies, asthma attacks usually happen for a reason. An allergy flares up when you come in contact with whatever it is you are allergic too. An asthma attack can be brought on by an allergen or something as simple as a whiff of cigarette smoke.

In fact, anything that would normally cause someone without asthma to simply cough or even clear his or her throat may send someone with asthma into a full-blown attack. The slightest bit of irritation is all it takes for some people.

In basic terms, an asthma attack is when something irritates your airway. When this happens, the muscles react by constricting, causing the sufferer to gasp for breath. This feels something like drowning or having a huge weight placed on your chest. This leads to a variety of events within your body that, if not treated, can be fatal.

If you have asthma, you should have already had lengthy discussions with your doctor about what to avoid and what you need to do in the event of an attack. It is important to follow your doctor's advice, keep up with appointments, and report any changes immediately.

If you know what can cause an attack, you are better prepared to avoid triggers. This list is only a guide and not meant to take the place of a physician's advice and care. Here are some common problems that can trigger an asthma attack.

Life's Little Nuisances

These are commonly just a nuisance for most people, but for an asthma sufferer, they can cause huge problems. Things you deal with everyday can set off a reaction. Perfume, smoke, fumes, smog, and chemical smells are all good examples.


Ozone problems usually happen in the middle of the summer, and is a very common trigger. If you live in a larger city, you should be able to find out about ozone levels each day so you know when to be careful.

Airborne Allergens

The common allergy triggers are also asthma triggers. Pollens and mold spores are two common problems. Any particle small enough to be inhaled can cause you worries.

Home Sweet Home

Many things in your home can trigger an attack. Carpeting, cleaning and laundry products, wood stains, paints, insect droppings, and mold spores are all potential triggers.

Food and Drugs

Some asthma sufferers cannot take aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen because they have a reaction to it. Others have trouble with sulfites, which is a common food additive, and tartrazine, which can be found in some medications.

Thunder Storms

When the lightning strikes, sometimes so will an asthma attack. Mold spore counts are higher during a storm, and thus can trigger an attack. Cold, less-humid environments can also cause problems.

Final Thoughts

This list is far from complete, but covers some of the most common triggers. You may want to keep a journal just for your reactions and attacks so you can narrow down which specific things are most likely to trigger an attack. Don't forget to share your findings with your doctor.

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