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6 Environmental Triggers for Asthma and Allergies

A list of 6 environmental triggers that affect asthma and allergies and ways to eliminate them.

Asthma and allergies affect more than 20 million people in the United States. Most that suffer know that their triggers can come from a variety of sources. Some may be organic, some may be synthetic, but almost all symptoms come from environmental triggers. Here are 6 environmental triggers that affect allergy and asthma symptoms.

  • POLLEN – The number one environmental trigger for seasonal allergies and asthma. The biggest offender when it comes to pollen comes from Ragweed and other grasses. The best strategy for avoiding this trigger is to avoid excessive outdoor exposure during its peak times (Between 5am and 10am). Most of the weeds and grasses peak in the fall and spring, but can also cause problems during the summer months. Always washing your hands and face and changing clothes after outdoor exposure is an effective way to help alleviate symptoms as well.
  • MOLD – Mold is a year-round culprit of asthma and allergy triggers. It can be found in homes, cars, workplaces, outdoors, and schools. Mold can sometimes be undetectable without proper testing, but the spores can be deadly to those that suffer from asthma. The best defense against mold is to use a dehumidifier especially where you sleep. Mold thrives on moisture so always vent area’s that have moisture such as the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry areas. Mold tests can be purchased at local hardware stores to determine if and what kind of mold is present in your home.
  • ANIMAL DANDER – Many people that suffer from allergy symptoms from animal’s often think it is the fur that causes the problem. In reality, the fur is harmless, it’s the dander that the animal secretes and releases. If possible the best solution is to remove the animals from the home if possible. If it isn’t possible, the next best option is to always keep animals out of the bedrooms, bath them weekly to remove as much dander as possible, and wash your hands after exposure.
  • CIGARETTE SMOKE – This man-made trigger can affect both asthma and allergies. Containing many different toxins and irritants, cigarette smoke can cause wheezing, itchy eyes, and even skin irritation. Avoiding both first hand and second hand smoke is the only way to eliminate this environmental trigger. If exposure is unavoidable then it is important to change clothes and wash hands immediately after exposure.
  • DUST MITES– Dust mites can be found everywhere – from shelves in your home, sheets and blankets, to the air you breathe. Dust mites aggravate lung function triggering asthma symptoms for those with a sensitivity to dust. They can also cause nasal symptoms, itchy eyes, and coughing. Dust mites are near impossible to eliminate, but you can install HEPA filters to help lessen the population of dust mites. Also, washing linens and curtains in hot water will kill any mites that live in them, but it must be done weekly. Finally, dusting often and keeping the air fresh in your home will also help eliminate this trigger.
  • COCKROACHES – This particular trigger is not as well-known as most, but it is a dangerous element for those with asthma. The protein left by cockroach’s saliva and dropping is a drastic allergen that can trigger major asthma symptoms. If you have cockroaches, it is important to exterminate immediately. It is also imperative to seal foods tightly and wash all linens and clothing in hot water. Clean the home thoroughly and keep it clean.

Environmental triggers come in many forms, but for those suffering from asthma and allergies, they are the enemy. While it may be impossible to eliminate all environmental triggers, taking steps to help lessen them could make allergy and asthma symptoms more tolerable.

Reference:

  • niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/conditions/asthma/allergens/
  • Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/vincealongi/498875364/