Asthma Triggers and Treatments

Updated on April 19, 2020
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Asthma Airway Narrowing

Asthma Facta

There are about 19 million people in the United States with asthma, and the percentage of children with asthma is 8.2 percent. It is one of the most common chronic illnesses in the U.S. The number of people with asthma is continuing to increase annually. Asthma is quite common in families with a history of allergies.

This disorder causes the airways to swell and become narrow, which leads to wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and chest tightness. Inflammation in the airways causes asthma. During an asthma attack the muscles surrounding the airways tighten, and there is swelling of the airway passages.

In terms of populations that are most affected, children are more likely to have asthma, as are African Americans (see chart below). More women than men get asthma, except in the case of children. More boys have asthma than girls. Diagnosing children under the age of five is difficult.

Asthma Statistics


Asthmatic Emergencies

The duration of asthma attacks can be just a few minutes, or they can last up to several days. Some people take two times longer to get the air out of their lungs than to breathe in during an attack. Others can stop breathing temporarily.

Recognize emergency symptoms:

  • Extremely difficult to breathe
  • Lips and face turning blue
  • Fast heart rate
  • Extreme anxiety due to shortness of breath
  • Profuse perspiration
  • Possible drowsiness or confusion
  • Chest pain possibly due to tightness

Asthma Attack in Your Child

Diagnosing Asthma: Mild, Moderate, and Severe

Asthma in Children

There are several facts a parent should learn when they have an asthmatic child. It is important to understand everything about this disease, and they must be able to recognize the signs of an oncoming attack.

It is helpful to learn to judge the severity of the attack. If your child is missing school due to asthma, then the treatment program should be re-evaluated by their physician. No one in the home should smoke.

Learn the triggers of your child's asthma and remove as many as possible. Teach your child as much self-care as they are old enough to understand. When children understand the precautions and treatments they will make better decisions, and they may be less frightened when an attack occurs. It is important for the school to know your child has this disease.

Astha Attack - When to Go to the ER

Asthma Triggers

There are many triggers that may cause an asthma attack.

  • Tobacco smoke and this includes second-hand smoke
  • Animal pet hairs - Cats and dogs are common triggers
  • Chemicals in foods - common foods also - shellfish, milk, nuts, eggs, fish, soy, wheat
  • Dust - Change furnace filters frequently and air purifiers are helpful.
  • Cockroach allergen - Remove water or food sources that might attract them.
  • Weather changes - particularly cold weather
  • Mold - A dehumidifier is helpful and removes mold around tubs in the bathrooms.
  • Burning leaves or grass
  • Exercise-induced asthma is common
  • Common Medications - Aspirins, penicillin, anti-inflammatory medications
  • Infections - Sinus infections, flu, colds, respiratory infections, and acid reflux
  • Pollens - Track the pollen count, and stay indoors when the count is high.

The Vest® Airway Clearance System 3D Animation Video -New Treatment

Summary for Asthma

It is important to follow the instructions of your physician and take all the prescribed medications. Work to determine the specific triggers for asthma, and remove as many as possible. When the weather is extremely cold it is helpful to stay indoors, and it is also a good idea to avoid being outdoors when the humidity is high.

Stay healthy by practicing good hand washing and avoiding anyone who is ill. Always get an annual flu shot. If strenuous exercise triggers asthma, choose a sport that is more tolerable. Always keep an inhaler close by in case of an attack. It is important to make sure you are using your inhaler properly.

Prevention is always the best choice.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Meg,

    I am not surprised that people with asthma are being extra careful as I have had asthma since my early 20s and I am being cautious. It seems like more people have asthma these days, especially children.

    Thank you so much for your comments.

  • DreamerMeg profile image


    2 months ago from Northern Ireland

    Many years ago, it was questioned whether asthma even existed, some people wondering whether it was due to over protective parents. It seems as though asthma has increased as a cause of illness over the last number of years. Very useful hub. I know a few people with asthma and they are having to take great precautions to stay away from people who might carry covid-19.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Peggy,

    Elminating triggers is very important. I appreciate your comments, Peggy.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    2 months ago from Houston, Texas

    I feel sorry for people who have severe cases of asthma. Eliminating triggers would be the first thing to do, as you wrote. This is all good information to know.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Neelam, Thank you for your comment.

  • profile image

    Neelam Ramani 

    7 years ago

    very informative........

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    CRe8tiVeLife, I am very glad the article was helpful to you and your family. I appreciate your sharing your problems. Thanks.

  • CRe8tiVeLiFe profile image

    Erin Lee 

    7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow ;-)

    I have horrible asthma. This article was helpful for the issues my kids may face because of genetics. Thanks for sharing

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida


    I am glad this hub is useful for your husband. Thanks for your comments.

    Mary, I had asthma worse when I lived up north and it almost entirely went away when I moved to FL also. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 

    7 years ago from Florida

    My Hubby had asthma, and my oldest daughter has it too. I think it may be somewhat hereitary. When my daugher was little we lived in a cold climate and that was one reason we moved to Florida. The warmer climate helped her but she still has bouts of it when it turns cold and damp.

    Voted UP, and shared.

  • midget38 profile image

    Michelle Liew 

    7 years ago from Singapore

    My husband has asthma and I will share this hub with him. Thanks for sharing, Pamela!!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Linda, I know. I have the same problem. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 

    7 years ago from Orlando, FL

    I sympathize with asthma sufferers. I am highly sensitive to mold and when Florida has it's rainy season I could have a wheezing fit or two. No fun at all depending on an inhaler. Allergies and asthma...wish there was an easy remedy for both. Excellent hub!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Dianne, That is my goal when I write about health. I appreciate your comments.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    7 years ago

    I hate that so many people suffer from asthma. My sister has attacks on occasion and it is so concerning for the family as she struggles to breathe. Your hub post is full of helpful information and will be a welcome read for so many.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Vicki, I think the number of people with asthma have greatly increased. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Vellur, Me too, and I have found an air purifier in my bedroom helps too. I appreciate your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Rosemary, I had asthma when I was in my 20's then it left me for decades but returned 2 years ago. I don't know why this happened, but I have improved recently with the right medications. Finally, I found a good doctor. I hope you get some relief soon. Thanks for your comments.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Asthma seems to be on the rise all over the world. I know several people with it, and there are many children who have such an unfortunate time with it. This is very informative and useful.

  • Vellur profile image

    Nithya Venkat 

    7 years ago from Dubai

    Very useful hub, people should keep away from triggers that induce allergy. Being allergic to dust, I always have my medications and asthavalent inhaler on hand. Voted up.

  • Rosemay50 profile image

    Rosemary Sadler 

    7 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

    I great informative hub Pamela. I have suffered with asthma only since my mid 50's, it seems to get worse as I get older. On occasion after showering I have had to sit and rest before attempting to get dried. It is certainly not a pleasant disease.

    Wonderful hub with some good advice.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Paula, I think it is so hard for people like your daughter-in-law because it is hard to ever feel good with all those symptoms. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • fpherj48 profile image


    7 years ago from Carson City

    Pam...when I saw your title I immediately thought of my poor Daughter-in-law.......She has enough allergies for 6 people. I always feel for her when her eyes are puffy and tearing and her nose itches.

    There's so little she can do about most of them, but take a few things to try to alleviate the symptoms.

    My allergies are exclusive to medications (mostly anti-biotics)...which as far as I'm concerned, is bad enough!...Then there are those lucky few, who have no allergies at all.

    Wonderful educational hub, Pam. Thanks much...UP+++

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Ruby, I use an air purifier in my bedroom and it helps. Your allergies are some of the most common. Thank you for your comments.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    7 years ago from Southern Illinois

    This is a great article. I do not have asthma but i do have allergies plus Celiac disease. I must eat a gluten-free diet. I was amazed when the Allergist told me that i was allergic to animal dander, mold, dust, grass, smoke, the worst being mold and dust. I have two air purifiers in my home which helps. I have a granddaughter who has asthma so i will share this with my son. Thank you..

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    bdegiulio, I have always thought it was so odd how some people have allergies when they are young and outgrow them, then, others develop when they are adults. Sometimes moving to a different climate can trigger allergies. I appreciate your comments.

  • bdegiulio profile image

    Bill De Giulio 

    7 years ago from Massachusetts

    Hi Pamela. This really hits home as I have awful allergies. It's odd that I developed them when I turned forty or so but I've read that this can happen. This is great info for anyone suffering from allergies or asthma. Great job.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nell Rose, It is amazing how many people suffer from asthma. I have more of a problem is cold, wet weather, and I fully agree with you about staying away from sick people. Thanks for your comments.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    7 years ago from England

    Great job Pamela, as someone who has always suffered from asthma and has had really bad scary attacks this is spot on. So many thinks trigger it, especially the cold where my brother is concerned, but keeping away from people sneezing and coughing is imperative, voted up! nell

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    drbj, I hope you are right. Thank you for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Billy, I remembered that Bev has asthma and so glad she is doing better. I have it also but finally I am much better also. It isn't always easy to get the meds just right. Thanks for your comments.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    7 years ago from south Florida

    Very comprehensive information, Pamela, which should be helpful to those suffering from allergies and asthma. Voted up.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    7 years ago from Olympia, WA

    We just finished Bev's latest asthma attack and it was a nasty one. Held on for a solid week and at times she couldn't walk across the room. Finally the meds kicked in and she is okay....for now. Good job on this hub, Pamela. Very important information.


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