In some people, asthma symptoms don’t appear until they are exposed to a trigger such as smoke or pollen. Their immune system views these triggers as foreign substances and releases chemicals to combat them. For people with asthma, those chemicals can cause an asthma attack – meaning their airways tighten up, they have difficulty breathing and they may experience coughing or wheezing.
But if you have asthma, don’t let the fear of an asthma attack hold you back! An allergist can identify your triggers, then create a plan to help you avoid and manage them.
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Don’t let allergies or asthma hold you back from the things you love.
Different allergens and irritants can act as triggers for different people, but common asthma triggers include:
- Outdoor allergens, such as pollens from grass, trees and weeds
- Indoor allergens, such as pet dander, dust mites, cockroaches and mold
- Irritants in the air, such as smoke, chemical fumes and strong odors
- Exercise (although people with well-controlled asthma can exercise)
- Weather conditions, such as cold air or extremely dry, wet or windy weather
- Certain drugs
Colds, Flu and Other Illnesses
Some people with heartburn have asthma symptoms when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus.
Drugs and Food Additives
Beta blockers, which often are prescribed for high blood pressure, glaucoma, migraine headaches and angina, can cause bronchospasm, an airway tightening. Patients with asthma should consult their allergist about the use of these medications.
Food additives rarely trigger asthma. The most common food trigger for asthma is sulfite, a preservative used in such products as frozen potatoes and some beers and wines.