Seven Ways to Avoid Asthma Flare-Ups

Common triggers and simple strategies to keep your asthma from flaring up

grandma and grandchild out gardening

Did you know that ordinary things in your life can cause an asthma flare-up? Knowing what triggers your symptoms can help you prevent attacks. Learn how to limit these common triggers:

Smoke: All types of smoke can bother your lungs. If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit as soon as possible. Avoid secondhand smoke as well.

Dust mites: These are the most common year-round allergen, says Myron Zitt, M.D., past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI). Cockroaches and other bugs can be triggers, too. Keep your home as clean as possible.

Pet dander: Keep pets off furniture and out of bedrooms. Bathe them weekly to get rid of pet dander, or dead skin cells.

Mold: When it is too damp in your house, mold can grow. Aim to keep humidity levels low. 

Strong smells: Chemicals in perfumes, soaps, and household cleaners can be irritating. Use non-toxic cleaners, or natural ones such as baking soda and vinegar.

Pollen: During allergy season, limit time outside. Wear a mask while gardening or doing yard work. The ACAAI recommends a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved N95 particulate filtering facepiece respirator. You can find a list of suppliers on the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And when you’re indoors, use an air conditioner or HEPA air filter.

Viral infections: Even minor respiratory illnesses, like colds, can cause problems for people with asthma, especially children. Wash your hands frequently, and get a flu shot each year.