West River ENT & Allergy

It’s Asthma Season! Here Are 5 Things That Can Trigger an Asthma Attack

Does asthma have a season? Not really, since asthma attacks can be triggered at any time of the year. While triggers vary from person to person, however, many people suffer from more frequent and severe asthma symptoms in the spring. When a person with asthma is exposed to a trigger, their airways become inflamed, narrow, and filled with mucus. This increases airway resistance and makes breathing more difficult.

Here are five common things that can trigger an asthma attack:

1. Allergies

This is why many people with asthma experience flare-ups in the spring. Pollen is a common allergy, and tree pollen is usually found in the air from March to May. Grass pollen can also trigger asthma attacks and is typically seen from May until the end of June. In addition, allergies to weed pollens, animal dander, mold, dust mites, and more can trigger asthma attacks as well. Approximately eighty percent of people with asthma have allergies to airborne substances like these.

2. Air pollutants

Pollen and dander are not the only airborne substances that can trigger an asthma attack. Other irritants like tobacco smoke, strong odors from perfumes, cleaning agents, smoke from fireplaces or wood-burning appliances, and more can all trigger asthma attacks. These small particles can enter your airway and irritate your lungs, exacerbating your asthma.

3. Weather

Changes in the weather can trigger asthma as well. This is also true of cold or dry air, which can cause your airway to narrow. Thunderstorms, heat, and humidity can also trigger your asthma.

4. Exercise

If you are looking for an excuse to skip your workout today, this might be it. (Just kidding!) Strenuous exercise can lead to a narrowing of the airways in approximately 80 percent of people with asthma.

5. Upper respiratory infections

Infections result in inflammation. Inflammation, in turn, causes the mucous membranes in the sinuses to secrete more mucus than usual. For many people with asthma, inflammation in the sinuses can lead to sinusitis with asthma.

One of the best ways to avoid an asthma attack is to observe what your triggers are and avoid them. For example, if you are sensitive to tree pollen, pay attention to pollen counts and try to stay inside on days with high pollen counts. Air conditioning, which filters the air, can help to reduce airborne irritants.

You are likely suffering from an asthma attack if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • A wheezing or whistling sound when exhaling
  • Trouble sleeping caused by coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu

Treatments for asthma may include avoiding your triggers (as mentioned above), medications to prevent symptoms, and medications for quick relief of asthma flare-ups. Our experienced allergist will be able to help you identify your asthma triggers and formulate a personalized plan to manage your asthma.

To learn more about what can trigger asthma and how to handle these triggers, we invite you to contact our allergy clinic today and schedule an appointment. We are eager to assist you.

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