To help prevent an asthma attack, it’s important to identify your triggers and avoid them. Here are some common triggers and ways to avoid them:
Allergens, such as dust, mold, pollen, or animals
Avoid these allergens by doing the dusting, vacuuming, and general cleaning when the person with asthma is not at home, or, if you yourself have asthma, try to do the cleaning as frequently as possible to keep the amount of dust and animal hair to a minimum; avoid high pollen counts, which usually occur from 6 AM to 10 AM and from 5 PM to 7 PM; restrict pets to certain parts of the house, and don’t allow them in bedrooms
Irritants, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and perfumes
Avoid these allergens by quitting smoking, avoiding second-hand smoke, and, whenever possible, closing windows to keep out pollutants
Some foods, such as nuts, chocolate, eggs, shellfish, and peanut butter
Avoid these foods whenever possible. Consult cookbooks, which will often suggest alternative ingredients to use when cooking or baking
Stress or intense emotions can stimulate an attack or make it worse
Avoid these triggers by talking with your doctor or health care provider about relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, counting techniques, and overall stress management
Respiratory infections, which can also trigger or worsen an attack
Avoid this trigger by getting your scheduled flu shot, and talk with your doctor or health care provider if you tend to get frequent or recurring respiratory infections
Other triggers to try to avoid include outdoor activities in cold weather (especially if you will encounter a sudden drop in temperature), and some forms of exercise, so talk with your doctor or health care provider about developing an appropriate exercise regimen.
Also, some medications-even aspirin-can trigger asthma attacks. If you have problems with some prescription medications or over-the-counter products, talk with your doctor or health care provider, and he or she can suggest alternative therapies.
To discover your triggers and ways to better understand and control your asthma, be sure to talk with your doctor or health care provider. He or she can also suggest changes in your lifestyle that can help you avoid triggers, as well as practical ways to track your condition so you can better control your asthma.