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Staying Healthy

Asthma Triggers

Boy outside on grass

Know your triggers and avoid them

Avoiding or reducing exposure to your asthma triggers is an important part of keeping your asthma under control. Here are some common asthma triggers and ways to prevent an asthma episode or attack:

Common Allergens include:

Dust Mites (these are tiny bugs you cannot see that live in cloth or carpet)
  • Put airtight covers on mattresses and pillows.
  • Wash bedding, clothing and stuffed toys in hot water once a week.
  • Avoid using comforters and pillows filled with down or feathers.
  • Ask another family member to vacuum and stay out of rooms being vacuumed.
  • Use a dust-controlling filter or bag for your vacuum.
  • Replace carpets with vinyl, tile or wood flooring.

Pollen and Mildew
  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning in your home and car during allergy seasons.
  • When pollen counts are high, try to stay indoors, with the windows closed.
  • Keep bathrooms, kitchens and basements dry and clean.
  • Use a dehumidifier.
  • Clean all visible mold in your home.

Pet dander (dead skin flakes)
  • Do not allow pets in the room where you sleep.
  • Bathe your furry pets every week.
  • Try to avoid household items that have feathers, such as down pillows.
  • Ask your provider what medicine to use before visiting homes or other places where animals are present.

Cockroaches
  • Have your home sprayed with insecticide while you are out of the house and air the home out for a few hours before returning.
  • Use roach traps to control roaches.
  • Keep your kitchen clean and free of uncovered food containers.

Non-Allergic triggers include:

Tobacco and wood smoke
  • Do not smoke.
  • Do not allow smoking in your home or car. Ask friends and family to smoke outside.
  • Avoid using wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.

Odors and sprays
  • Avoid freshly painted places.
  • Do not use perfume or perfumed products such as hairspray or room deodorizers.
  • Open windows and use exhaust fans to remove cooking smells.
  • Do not use strong household cleaners.

Colds and other respiratory infections
  • Avoid people with a cold or the flu.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
  • Get enough rest, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
  • Ask your provider if you should have a flu shot.

Exercise
  • Before starting an exercise program, work with your provider to develop an Asthma Action Plan that allows you to exercise without asthma symptoms.
  • Ask your provider what medicine to use before exercising.
  • Warm up for five to ten minutes before exercising and cool down for at least ten minutes at the end of your workout.

Weather changes
  • Wear a scarf over your mouth and nose in cold weather.
  • When air pollution is high, try to stay indoors, with the windows closed.
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