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Common Asthma Triggers and How to Manage Your Symptoms

There’s a reason an asthma episode is called an “attack.” When you experience one, it feels like something is attacking your lungs. Symptoms of an attack may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, gasping for air, and trouble breathing.

During an attack, your airways’ membranes swell, the passageway shrinks, and you produce extra mucus, making it difficult to breathe. An asthma attack occurs when you encounter an asthma trigger, something that starts the swelling process. Identifying your triggers so you can avoid them is an integral part of managing your asthma symptoms.

The team at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, has extensive experience helping their patients manage their asthma and avoid attacks.

Common triggers

There is no cure for asthma, so managing your symptoms is essential to maintaining your quality of life. Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening. Triggers differ from person to person, so the first step in managing your asthma is to identify your specific triggers. Asthma triggers are often things that you’re allergic to. Common triggers include:

Tobacco smoke

Even if you don’t smoke, second-hand smoke, smoke that’s in the air from another smoker  is a common asthma trigger. If you do smoke and have asthma, you should quit. If you don’t smoke, try to stay away from all types of smokers, including cigar smokers and pipe smokers.


No one likes these common insects. If you have allergies and asthma, they can be especially problematic. Allergies to the saliva and waste of cockroaches, as well as a protein they contain, can trigger asthma attacks year-round. 

Dust mites

Dust mites are tiny microscopic creatures that live in your home. Because they’re impossible to see, it can be challenging to avoid them and rid your house of them. In this case, medication may be your best bet to avoid them. However, using mattress and pillow covers and vacuuming and cleaning often can help.   

Pet dander

People with pet allergies are not allergic to the pets themselves but to their dander — specks of skin found on their fur. While there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet, there are breeds that are more compatible with different people. 


Mold spores can live and thrive anywhere in your house, but they especially enjoy damp, dark places like your basement. Mold can also grow outside on logs and other plants. You can prevent mold from growing inside by using central air and a dehumidifier. When mold count is high outside, avoid going outside, or wear a mask.

How to manage your asthma

Avoiding your asthma triggers is an excellent first step in managing your asthma. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely avoid them. Plus, your triggers may change over time. It’s important to work with your family physician to create a personalized asthma action plan.

Your action plan may include long-term medication like steroid inhalers to keep airways stable and avoid inflammation and short term medications to help treat an acute attack. 

Contact Wasatch Peak Family Practice today to work with one of our practice providers to create a personalized asthma action plan so that you can breathe easier. For your convenience, you can call or request an appointment online

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