For most people with asthma there are certain things that bring on symptoms and make their asthma worse. These things are known as triggers.
A trigger is anything that irritates the airways and causes the symptoms of asthma to appear. Everyone’s asthma is different and so different people will have different triggers but it’s not uncommon for one person to have several triggers that affect their condition such as: temperature changes, cold and flu, dust and air pollution.
However, as the effects of a trigger can appear slowly (sometimes over 4-6 hours more) it can be difficult to identify where the symptoms came from.
Limiting your exposure to your triggers can help you improve your asthma control and reduce the need for medication, even if you’re not completely sure of your personal triggers. For example, someone with asthma might make an effort to avoid cigarette smoke or cleaning sprays, even if they don’t know what triggers them personally.
In the case of known triggers (viral infections, traffic fumes etc) it is important to take measures to avoid these things wherever possible.However, many people with asthma find they react to a number of factors that are commonly found in the environment such as pollen or temperature changes. It is often impossible and very limiting for someone to try to avoid these environmental triggers entirely
Controller medications and asthma managementl have an important role in managing triggers as asthma patients are often less sensitive to triggers when their asthma is well controlled.
Often, it may not be just one trigger that sets off an episode of asthma but a mixture of several triggers. For this reason, your doctor may suggest you keep an asthma diary to monitor your symptoms and help you pin point your triggers.
Below is a list of some of th emost common triggers, it is important to remember that this is not a complete list and your own personal triggers may fall outside of these categories.