Common Asthma Triggers

Learning the difference can help reduce symptoms. 

Triggers often bring on asthma attacks. A trigger is any thing or condition that causes inflammation in the airways, which then leads to asthma symptoms.

Your personal triggers can be very different from those of another person with asthma. But in every case, it’s important to avoid your triggers in order to keep airway inflammation to a minimum and reduce the symptoms.

About inflammatory triggers 
Inflammatory (allergic) triggers can cause inflammation of the lungs’ airways or tightening of the airways’ muscles. Inflammatory triggers include:

  • Dust mites
  • Animals
  • Cockroaches
  • Moulds
  • Pollens
  • Viral infections
  • Certain air pollutants

About symptom triggers
Symptom (non-allergic) triggers generally do not cause swelling, but they can provoke “twitchy” airways, especially if they’re already inflamed. Symptom triggers include:

  • Smoke
  • Exercise
  • Cold air
  • Chemical fumes and other strong-smelling substances like perfumes
  • Certain food additives like sulfites
  • Certain air pollutants
  • Intense emotions

Smoke: Exposure to smoke of any kind, whether the source is tobacco, marijuana, forest fires or campfires, can be harmful.

Copied with permission from: Asthma Canada