Managing Triggers

Common triggers… How to avoid them and stay well

A ‘trigger’ is anything that causes the symptoms of asthma. Different people find their asthma’s triggered by different things – you’ve just got to get to know your particular triggers. Here are some of the most common ones, along with a few tips on how to avoid them and keep your symptoms at bay.

House dust mites

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

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 lways kept out of the bedroom and living room
  • Wash your pets regularly and only groom them outdoors

It’s true that exercise can be a trigger for some people, but don’t let asthma stop you exercising as it’s important to stay fit and healthy.

  • 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 ymptoms, stop exercising immediately and take your reliever inhaler. Once you feel better then you can start again

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

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 beings 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

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