Five Triggers that Increase the Risk of an Asthma Attack

Posted by : Hinduja, 06 May 2019 05:51 PM
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Asthma is triggered for several reasons. Some people might be more prone and have numerous triggers while others may only react to one or two things. Asthma symptoms may be worsened by triggers, making it important to understand what triggers your asthma to be able to manage it effectively. 

What exactly is Asthma? It is the most common long-term lung disease that affects children and adults alike. Asthma causes repeated episodes of breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness and night time or early morning coughing.

Let us learn about five most common asthma triggers and how to manage them better:

Allergies-related triggers

Allergens are substances that cause allergies. Common allergens that can cause allergies are mould, dust mites and even cockroaches in some cases.

An asthma attack can be triggered by breathing mould. The first step to help control your attacks if you are allergic to moulds is to get rid of it completely from your home. Mould grows due to humidity and it is undetectable to the naked eye. Keep humidity in the air low by using an air conditioner or a dehumidifier. Get all the water leakages fixed since it can cause mould to grow behind walls.

Dust mites can trigger an asthma attack as well. They are tiny bugs that are found in almost every home. To prevent attacks, use mattress and pillowcase covers and ensure that you wash it every week. It is necessary to get rid of stuffed toys and de-clutter the home.

An asthma attack can be triggered by cockroaches and their droppings too. You may have noticed that cockroaches are often found where food is eaten and left behind. Keep them away from your home by removing as many open food sources as you can.


Tobacco smoke is known to cause damage to tiny hair-like structures in the airways called cilia. Usually, cilia sweep dust and mucus out of the airways but tobacco smoke causes damage to the cilia, allowing dust and mucus to gather in the airways. Smoke causes the lungs to create more mucus than usual. As a result, mucus builds up in the airways, triggering an asthma attack.


You may have observed that exercise and other physical activities makes you breathe faster. This can affect those suffering from asthma. Exercise, especially in cold air, is a common asthma trigger. Have you heard about exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)? It is a form of asthma that is triggered by physical activity. It is also known as exercise-induced asthma (EIA).

Unfortunately, symptoms may not appear until after several minutes of continuous exercise. Do note that if symptoms appear sooner than this, it usually means you need to check with the doctor and adjust the treatment. If you take proper treatment, you will not have to restrict your physical activity.


Every individual reacts to different situations with different emotions. Strong emotions such as excitement, anger, fear, laughter, yelling and crying can cause changes in your breathing – even if you don’t have asthma. This may cause wheezing or other asthma symptoms in someone suffering from asthma. It is not going to be an asthma trigger for everyone, all the time. But an individual is at more risk of symptoms coming on or getting worse during those times when the emotions are the strongest.

Did you know that an asthma attack can be triggered by furry pets? It is important that you bathe your pets every week and keep them outside as much as you can. If you have a furry pet, it is recommended that you vacuum often. If you have hard flooring such as wood or tile, damp mop the floor every week.

You need to identify what triggers an asthma attack so that you can avoid those triggers whenever possible. When a trigger cannot be avoided, it is imperative to be alert for any possible attack. Remember, you can control your asthma by being alert and watching out for the warning signs and staying away from things that trigger an attack.

The Pulmonary Medicine Department of P. D. Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre provides an active diagnostic and therapeutic service, covering the entire spectrum of respiratory disorders. You can consult the experts for an accurate diagnosis and a customised treatment plan that works best to manage your asthma.
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