Asthma Triggers

Asthma symptoms can be triggered by several factors, including:

Medications — Some patients may have an asthma attack after taking certain drugs. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, and beta-blockers, which are used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and glaucoma, can trigger an asthma attack. Consult your physician before taking any of these medications.

Reflux disease — In patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach acid flows up the esophagus, and this can affect patients with asthma. Symptoms of GERD include severe or repeated heartburn, excessive belching, night-time asthma, increased asthma symptoms after meals or exercise, and frequent coughing and hoarseness. Treatment of GERD is often beneficial for asthma patients.

Food — Certain foods and additives can trigger an attack, for example, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. If a patient knows that any of these foods might trigger an attack, the best remedy is to avoid them.

Emotional anxiety — Emotional factors cannot trigger asthma attacks on their own, but anxiety and stress can cause fatigue, which can in turn increase symptoms and aggravate an attack. Proper rest and nutrition are essential to combat these triggers.

Animal dander — Animal dander is made up of dead skin cells that are constantly shed. Dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, mice, and birds ail produce dander that can trigger asthma symptoms. General cleanliness and a competent HEPA type air cleaner can control the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms when a person is in contact with animals. Exercise -Strenuous exercise can sometimes trigger attacks. Mouth breathing, exercising in cold, dry air, or prolonged, strenuous, activities such as running can increase the likelihood of exercise-induced asthma (EIA).

(Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.)

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