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Asthma Triggers

What are the triggers that can cause an asthma flare-up?

According to the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and other organizations, triggers for asthma include:

Allergens

  • Pollen (trees, grasses, and weeds)

  • Mold

  • Dust and dust mites

  • Cockroach droppings

  • Mice and other pests

Respiratory infections

  • Viral infections including the common cold

  • The flu

  • Sore throat

  • sinus infection

Irritants

  • Strong odors and sprays, such as perfumes, household cleaners, paints, and varnishes

  • Chemicals, such as coal, chalk dust, or talcum powder

  • Air pollutants, such as ozone and chemicals in the air

  • Weather conditions, including cold or wind, or hot, humid weather

  • Chemical exposure on the job, such as dust, gases, or fumes

Sensitivity to medications

  • Aspirin

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, and naproxen

  • Sulfites used as preservatives in food and beverage

 

Exercise

  • Strenuous physical exercise 

  • Long-term activities, such as long-distance running

Other conditions

  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

  • Overweight

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Smoke

  • Tobacco smoke, both inhaled and secondhand

  • Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces

Emotions

  • Anxiety

  • Stress

  • Depression

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F., III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Little, Frederic, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2016
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