Avoid Asthma Triggers

Raziuddin Ahmed, M.D., pulmonologist.

For asthma sufferers, being caught off guard by an asthma attack can be very scary when the airways become narrowed or inflamed, leading to wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath or other symptoms.

Every case of asthma is different, and knowing what triggers your asthma can help you control it, but you may need to do a bit of detective work to understand all of the factors that trigger your asthma.

Symptoms may not always appear directly after exposure and different factors (e.g., pollen, mold, exercise, smoke) can cause a variety of reactions.

Raziuddin Ahmed, M.D., pulmonologist at Houston Methodist Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine Specialists in Sugar Land, shared the following steps you can take to better understand and manage your asthma for easier breathing.

  • Keep an asthma journal. “When you have an asthma episode, take notice of your surroundings and write down potential triggers, such as being close to a pet, stirring up dust while cleaning or exercising outside,” Ahmed said.
  • Avoid asthma triggers. Identifying your asthma triggers can help you avoid them. For example, if you know your asthma is triggered by air pollution, watch the weather for air quality updates and stay indoors if possible when air pollution levels are high.
  • Use your inhaler properly. “Ask your doctor or nurse to watch your technique to make sure you are receiving the full benefits of your medication,” Ahmed said. “Also, always adhere to the recommended dosage.”
  • Recognize warning signs. An asthma episode may come at any time and could develop into a life-threatening situation within a matter of seconds. Ask your doctor what the right steps should be in such an emergency.
  • Make an asthma action plan. Create your own asthma action plan with your doctor.

If you or someone you know has asthma, talk to a doctor about ways to manage it safely so you can enjoy an active lifestyle.

Common Asthma Triggers

  • Allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites and mold
  • Weather conditions, such as dry air, high winds, cold temperatures or sudden changes in weather patterns
  • Pollution, such as strong fumes from paint or other chemicals, smoke, smog and even perfume
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Exercise
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Laughing or crying
  • Medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Viral and bacterial infections, such as the common cold and sinusitis
  • Acid reflux (with or without heartburn)

Houston Methodist Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine Specialists in Sugar Land offers comprehensive asthma services to evaluate and manage the condition using the most advanced treatment options. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahmed, call 281.325.0005. For the latest news, events and information, visit houstonmethodist.org/sugarland or our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland.