Asthma Triggers

We’re here to help you discover what triggers your asthma

Once you know what triggers your asthma it's easier to avoid these and prevent an asthma attack.

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How can you avoid the triggers?

If you know what triggers your asthma, you can act fast to stop your symptoms from getting worse. A ‘trigger’ is anything that causes the symptoms of asthma by irritating your lungs. Different people find their asthma’s triggered by different things – you’ve just got to get to know your particular triggers.

What triggers asthma?

There are numerous environmental factors and things that we encounter in our day to day lives that can trigger your asthma symptoms or even an asthma attack. Here we list some of the more common ones, along with a few tips on how to avoid them and keep your symptoms at bay.

did you know? about 70% of people 
with asthma have allergies did you 
know? about 70% of people with asthma have allergies

If you suffer from asthma, you are more likely to react to pollen, mould, dust mites and fungal spores. They may make your asthma symptoms worse, as well as giving you itchy eyes, making you sneeze and making your nose run or block. We recommend that you begin your hay fever treatment a few weeks before the hay fever season starts. We can advise you on the best treatment for your symptoms and which ones are safe to use in conjunction with your asthma medicines. It’s also best to keep a check on the pollen count, and ensure that doors and windows are closed early morning and evening when pollen is at its highest.

It’s really difficult to avoid pollen as the spores are so tiny and can be blown for miles, but there are some things you can do to help.

  • Keep your windows closed at night when you’re asleep - pollen is released in the early morning and begins to fall in the evening when it cools down
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses when you’re outdoors to help protect your eyes
  • Don’t line-dry washing outside as the fabrics can trap the pollen
  • Keep checking the pollen count forecasts to see when levels are going to be high
  • If you’re a keen gardener, avoid days with high pollen counts altogether and try to avoid early morning and early evening when the count will be at its highest
  • If you have to be outside with the pollen count’s high, you can buy special masks to filter out the pollen
  • If you’ve been outside for the day, have a shower and wash your hair when you get back home to remove the pollen
  • Keep your car windows shut when you’re driving and use a pollen filter if you can
  • Use Vaseline to stop the pollen from irritating your nose

You can find mould indoors all year round in damp and warm places, like kitchens, bathrooms and any other rooms where you have damp problems.

  • Remove mould from any surfaces in your home, and from shower curtains, tiles and fridges
  • If you have any walls suffering from mould, remove the wallpaper then treat the walls before re-papering
  • Clean mould from window frames and tackle any condensation problems
  • Open windows when you’re showering or cooking and keep internal doors closed so the steam doesn’t get into any other rooms
  • Keep an eye on your house plants as soil can easily grow mould
  • Don’t use humidifiers

These are tiny creatures found in everybody’s homes, mainly in mattresses where they live off human skin cells. Some people find the mites’ droppings can trigger their asthma.

  • Use allergen-proof barrier covers on mattresses, pillows and covers
  • Wash all bedding every week at 60 degrees to kill the mites
  • Try and minimise soft furnishings in your home - blinds instead of curtains, wooden or laminate floors instead of carpets, and vinyl, leather or wood furniture instead of upholstered furniture
  • Wash soft toys frequently
  • If you have carpet make sure you vacuum regularly with a high filtration vacuum cleaner to trap and kill the mites
  • Wipe all surfaces every week with a damp cloth to prevent dust building up in your home

During exercise, you breathe harder and the air reaching your lungs is colder and drier than usual. This can irritate the airways making them tighten and inflamed. If this happens, use your reliever inhaler before exercise.

Our top tips

  • Always take your preventer inhaler as directed by your GP to keep your asthma under control
  • Always carry your reliever inhaler with you when you’re going to exercise
  • Make people that you’re exercising with aware that you have asthma
  • Start off gradually and make sure you warm up and down
  • If you do start to get asthma symptoms, stop exercising immediately and take your reliever inhaler. Once you feel better then you can start again

Most people with asthma do not need to follow a special diet, but a small number are allergic to certain foods which can lead to an allergic reaction. This may bring on asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. The most common food allergens for asthmatics are:

Milk and milk products, eggs, nuts, including peanuts, fish and shellfish, wheat, seeds, soya and food additives.

This can make your asthma worse so ask a member of the LloydsPharmacy team for advice about quitting smoking and information on our nicotine replacement therapy products. You can also get support from our Online Doctor Service.

Extremes of temperature and humidity may adversely affect your asthma so make sure you always carry your reliever inhaler and keep an eye on the ever changeable weather.

These can make your asthma worse. Make sure you get an annual flu jab – ask your local Pharmacy team for details of our annual winter vaccinations programme. And always follow good hygiene routines to avoid infections.

These can sometimes make your asthma worse. Why not make some lifestyle changes? Alcohol is known to increase stress and anxiety, so aim to limit your intake and get out and about or do some gentle relaxation exercises.

Asthma can be triggered by animal saliva, skin, urine or old scales shed from the skin, also known as dander. These allergens can still be found in your home months after the animal has left. Cats seem to be the most common trigger but other animals like dogs, horses and rabbits can also cause asthma symptoms.

  • If you have a pet in your home that triggers your asthma, make sure it’s always kept out of the bedroom and living room
  • Wash your pets regularly and only groom them outdoors

Respiratory Support Service

Our Respiratory Support Service is completely FREE and confidential, giving you expert advice on how you can help relieve your symptoms. We also give you tips on how to improve your inhaler technique, giving you more confidence to manage your asthma.

Respiratory Support Service

Online Doctor

You can keep on top of your condition with our Online Doctor Service. We can provide you with the preventer and reliever inhalers you need for either same day collection or next day delivery.

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