News and Information

Asthma - Know Your Triggers

07-28-2014

Asthma symptoms range from minor to severe and vary from person to person. You may have infrequent asthma attacks, which means that you have symptoms only at certain times, such as during exercise or you may have ongoing symptoms that you affect you on a daily basis.

Signs and symptoms of asthma may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu

Many things can trigger or worsen asthma symptoms. Your doctor will help you find out which things (called triggers) may cause your asthma to flare up if you come in contact with them.

Asthma Triggers: For some people, asthma symptoms flare up in certain situations

  • Exercise-induced asthma, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases, tobacco smoke or dust
  • Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by particular allergens, such as pet dander, cockroaches, dust mites, pollen and sulfites or preservatives in processed food
  • Emotional anxiety and stress may increase asthma symptoms and trigger an attack

Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Likewise, having these symptoms doesn’t always mean that you have asthma. The best way to determine if you have asthma is to see your physician for the proper testing.

Allergy-induced asthma may produce problems year round, because it’s triggered by substances found in the everyday living environment. Other people only deal with the symptoms at certain times of the year, especially if they have the outdoor allergies, meaning that triggers are commonly found outdoors, rather than indoors. And still, others have allergy/asthma symptoms year-round but find they get much worse in the summertime when summer pollens are in the air

Know your triggers: It is important to recognize what triggers your asthma and minimize your exposure to allergens (substances to which you are allergic). Allergen exposure can temporarily increase the inflammation of the airways in a person with asthma, making them more susceptible to an asthma attack.