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asthma triggers

Asthma triggers are things outside the body that can cause an asthma attack. What triggers an asthma episode for one person may not bother another person with asthma. Therefore, the first step to preventing an asthma attack is knowing your asthma triggers and finding ways to avoid them.

smoke and e-cigarettes

  • Do not let anyone smoke in your home.
  • Never smoke in the car with your child or in the car your child rides in.
  • Avoid homes and other places where people smoke.
  • If other people care for your child, make sure they do not smoke.
  • Wash your hands and face after smoking, since smoke stays on your skin.
  • Wear a covering over your clothing ("smoking jacket") when you smoke outside, since smoke sticks to clothes. Leave the covering outside before going indoors.
  • Make every effort to stop smoking, even if you could not stop before. Keep trying!

dust mites

  • Keep mattresses, box spring and all pillows in dust-mite-proof covers.
  • Wash your sheets, even brightly colored children's sheets and blankets, weekly in hot water.
  • Remove stuffed toys from the bedroom or wash them weekly in hot water.
  • Stay out of rooms that are being vacuumed or dusted.
  • If possible, take rugs or carpets out of the bedroom.
  • Use a dehumidifier for humid environments.


  • Do not have pets with fur or feathers in your home. If unavoidable, keep them out of your bedroom.


  • Kill all the pests in the entire building (do not re-enter until all fumes and smells are completely gone).
  • Keep food and garbage sealed.
  • Don't keep food in the bedrooms.
  • Use roach traps to control roaches.
  • Use traps to control mice and rats.


  • Fix leaky faucets and pipes.
  • Clean moldy surfaces with bleach in water (1-part bleach to 10-parts water).
  • Clean shower curtains.
  • Reduce humidity by using a dehumidifier.
  • Use exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry.
  • Consider consulting a professional.

indoor/outdoor pollutants and irritants

  • Use your nose to detect strong odors that may be an irritant.
  • Read labels - avoid products marked "danger" or "poison"; reduce use of products marked "caution" or "warning".
  • Avoid perfume, talcum powder, hair spray and scented cleaning and laundry products.
  • Avoid incense, scented candles, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, kerosene heaters and outdoor fire pits.
  • Know the air quality for the day and plan accordingly. On days when air quality is poor, run the air conditioning and limit time outside. Plan any outdoor activities for early in the day - when air quality tends to be better- and avoid spending time in areas with a lot of traffic.


  • On cold days, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf or wear a turtleneck.
  • On hot, humid days, stay inside in the air conditioning, especially during the afternoon hours. Plan any outdoor activities in the morning.


  • Stay inside and keep windows closed when pollen levels are high.
  • Pollen Wise and The Weather Channel are apps that can be used to monitor pollen counts.
  • Remove clothing after spending time outdoors.
  • Bathe and wash your hair before going to bed.
  • Be sure to take your allergy medicine every day.
  • Be aware of your symptoms on air quality alert days.


  • Exercise is important for everyone, even those with asthma. Asthma should NOT keep you from playing sports or being active.
  • Ask your primary care provider about taking asthma medicine before play or exercise.
  • Always take rescue medicine with you while exercising and use it right away if symptoms develop.
  • Make sure to warm up before doing exercise and cool down after.


  • Stay calm and breathe slowly.
  • Focus on things that keep you happy.

cold, flu, infections

  • Avoid people with colds or flu.
  • Get a flu shot every year.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Take controller medicine, as directed, every day even if feeling well.
  • Do not use aspirin products.