Asthma Triggers

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Download the Asthma and Triggers – What You Need to Know PDF.


Triggers are things that bother sensitive airways and lead to asthma episodes. Triggers can include allergens and irritants. Not all triggers affect people the same way, so it is important for everyone with asthma to know their triggers and ways to avoid them.

General Trigger Tips

  • Always carry your quick-relief inhaler.
  • Know your triggers and avoid contact with them as much as possible.
  • Take your triggers seriously; asthma gets worse with every trigger you encounter.


Dust mites

Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in and eat dust. Possible solutions for reducing dust mites include using dust mite-proof mattress and pillow covers, washing sheets and stuffed animals regularly, and remove rugs or carpets.

Animals with Fur or Feathers

Animals with fur produce dander, or dried saliva and skin cells. When possible, keep animals out of bedrooms and off of upholstered furniture.


Mold grows in areas that are dark, wet or humid. If mold is present, fix the source of mold and clean with bleach solution (10 parts water to 1 part bleach).


Pollen travels through the air and comes into the home at certain times of the year. Keep windows closed and avoid being outside on days with high pollen levels.


Many people are allergic to cockroaches. To reduce the likelihood of cockroaches, keep food and garbage sealed. Avoid eating in the living room and bedroom. Use gels and roach motels instead of sprays, which can trigger asthma.



Smoke in any form can irritate the airways. Do not allow smoking in the house and avoid fireplaces.


Outdoor air pollution can irritate the airways. Limit physical activity outside on days with bad air quality. Check for daily forecasts.

Strong Odors

Perfumes and cleaning products can make asthma worse. Avoid using strong perfumes, aerosol sprays, candles and cleaning products with strong odors.

Other Triggers


Cold air can dry out airways and trigger asthma. Cover your mouth and nose on cold days. Hot, humid days hold more pollen and pollution in the air. Stay indoors.


Exercise can trigger asthma symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about using your quick-relief inhaler 15 minutes before exercising.


A cold or the flu can make controlling your asthma hard. Get your flu shot every year. Wash your hands frequently.


Laughter, crying and anger change breathing patterns. Always keep asthma in good control and carry a quick-relief inhaler.


This content is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical advice.