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Health Information For Teens
Triggers are things that make a person’s asthma worse. Being exposed to your triggers — for example, pet dander, exercise, or smoke — can lead to an asthma flare-up and coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Different people have different triggers. Some have one or two triggers; others have a dozen. Triggers are sometimes seasonal — like pollen in the spring. Some teens with asthma may stop reacting to certain triggers as they get older.
Common triggers include:
Allergens are the things people can be allergic to, like mold; dust mites; cockroaches; pollen; and animal dander (skin flakes), saliva, urine, and feathers. Allergens are one of the most common asthma triggers. If you think you might have an allergy, talk to a parent or doctor about getting allergy testing.
Avoiding allergens is the first step. It isn’t possible to avoid everything, but here are three tips to try:
Your doctor can give you other ideas. If you have allergies that make your asthma worse, you might need to take allergy medicine or have allergy shots. Your doctor will let you know.
For most people, irritants aren’t a serious problem. But for people with asthma, they can lead to flare-ups.
Common irritants include:
Even things that may seem harmless, like scented candles or glue, are triggers for some people.
If you notice that a household product triggers your asthma, ask your family to switch to an unscented or nonaerosol version of it. If smoke bothers you, people smoking around you will be a trigger. But a fire in the fireplace or woodstove can be a problem too.
If outdoor air pollution is a trigger for your asthma, running the air conditioner can help. Check air quality reports on the news to see which days might be bad for you. When outdoor air quality is very bad, stay in air-conditioned comfort, whether it’s at your house or the mall.
Colds or the flu are hard to avoid. The best prevention is washing your hands regularly and avoiding people who are sick.
An annual flu shot is now recommended for everyone above the age of 6 months. This is especially important for people with asthma, who are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. Ask your doctor to include instructions on what to do if you start feeling like you’re getting a cold or the flu.
Wind can stir up pollens and molds. Rain can wash pollen from the air, so the pollen count might be lower right after it rains. But lots of rain can make the trees and grasses produce more pollen later on. Very cold or very hot weather may trigger asthma. So can humidity or very dry air.
If you know that some kinds of weather make your asthma worse, follow the forecast. Take steps to protect yourself if you know the weather is going to cause problems for you. Your asthma action plan should say what to do.
Some people with asthma have only one trigger: exercise. Along with allergens, exercise is one of the more common triggers.
Luckily, exercise is the one trigger you don’t have to avoid. With help from their doctors, people with asthma can safely get the exercise they need to stay healthy and well. Talk with your doctor about what to do before, during, and after exercise.
There’s one step you’ll want to take no matter what your triggers are: Keep your quick-relief medicine with you at all times.
Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma.
Asthma is a lung condition that makes it hard to breathe. Learn all about asthma here.
Here’s steps to remove or minimize triggers at home that cause asthma flare-ups.
Asthma is more common these days than it used to be. The good news is it’s also a lot easier to manage and control.
Two different types of medicines are used to treat asthma: long-term control medicines and quick-relief medicines. Read about how they work, and why people might need to take them.
The weather can affect your asthma symptoms. If you think weather may be triggering your asthma, here are some tips for dealing with it.
Sports and exercise are a good idea for people with asthma. But some activities are better than others – find out more.
Some people have asthma symptoms only during or after exercise. This is called exercise-induced asthma. Get some tips for coping with it in this article.
If you have asthma, you’re more likely to be allergic to a pet than someone who doesn’t have asthma. Find out what you can do.
Experts now know that breathing in someone else’s secondhand smoke is bad for you. Find out what you can do about it.
Find out why smoking is a bad idea – especially for people with asthma.
Asthma flare-ups, or attacks, can be handled, but it’s even better if you can prevent them from happening. Find out how to deal with flare-ups.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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