5 Surprising Asthma Triggers


When you have asthma, be careful with things around you. Many things can trigger your symptoms. You may know about mold, dust mites or tobacco smoke. But there are more surprising triggers out there you need to know about.


Stress can come from your work, your children, your relationship, money, house, family, etc. Stress can affect your musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, immune and central nervous systems. Stress can also affect your asthma.

Stress can create strong reactions, work the nerves, leading to constriction of the muscles of the airways in the lungs. These muscles can tighten up, worsening your asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Stress can also lead to changes in your immune system, which can exacerbate your asthma.

However, asthma is not a psychosomatic condition and stress cannot cause it. This means if you do not have asthma, stress cannot cause you to have. Stress can only trigger your symptoms if you already have asthma.

Strong emotions such as yelling, anxiety, crying, anger, or laughing hard can also trigger asthma.


You may be sensitive to certain drugs that can trigger an asthma attack. Thus, be aware of taking medications if you have asthma. However, this does not mean you have to avoid all medications. Avoid those that precipitate your attack. In addition, be careful when you use other drugs even if they are not your asthma triggers because strong reactions can appear at any time. If you are prescribed any medication that you think may trigger your attack, tell your doctor.

Common medications that can trigger asthma include:

  • Aspirin and other painkillers: if you have asthma, you may become sensitive to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These drugs are used to relieve pain, fever, cold and flu. Asthma attacked triggered by these drugs can be severe. Some say that drugs containing acetaminophen are good alternatives for asthmatic patients who are aspirin-sensitive. However, some studies have shown the link between the use of acetaminophen and asthma. Thus, it is important to check with your doctor.
  • Beta blockers: beta blockers are drugs used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease, migraine headache, and glaucoma.
  • ACE inhibitors: ACE inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. These drugs may cause a cough in patients who use them. And this can trigger asthma symptoms.

Food and food additives

Food allergies can trigger mild to severe symptoms in asthmatic patients. Most common foods that are associated with asthma include: dairy products (cheese, milk), eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish, shrimps, and salads.

Moreover, preservatives in processed foods can also exacerbate your asthma. These preservatives can keep foods in good condition for longer. However, they can trigger asthma in patients who are sensitive. Common food preservatives include sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium sulfite, sodium metabisulfite and potassium metabisulfite. They can be found in dried fruits (apricots, raisins, pineapples), packaged potatoes, canned soups, wine, beer, bottled lemon juice, and pickled foods.

Common symptoms of food allergies include hives, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If the foods you eat trigger your asthma, symptoms include foods allergies symptoms, coughing, wheezing, and swelling of the throat.

Physical exercises

This is surprising. How can physical exercises trigger your asthma while they are always considered good for your health? Strenuous exercises such as jogging, race walking, or jump roping can cause your airways to narrow, and trigger your asthma. During exercise, you tend to breathe through your mouth, you will inhale colder and drier air than you do during normal breathing. Your airways are sensitive to temperature and humidity so they are more likely to narrow, causing symptoms of exercise-induced asthma such as wheezing, chest tightness, fatigue and coughing.

If you have exercise-induced asthma, you may experience chest tightness, coughing, trouble breathing within the first 5 to 15 minutes after the start of exercise. In the next 30 to 60 minutes of your exercise, the symptoms may disappear. However, you have risks of another asthma attack in 6 to 10 hours. Warming up carefully before exercising can help prevent asthma attacks.


Viral or bacterial infections like flu and cold can affect your lungs, cause inflammation, and narrow your airways. Thus, be aware of infections symptoms, you can prevent asthma attacks.

Possible of infections that can trigger asthma include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches

Good hygiene, vaccines, and clean breathing equipment (asthma inhaler, asthma nebulizer) can help prevent infections that trigger asthma.

Besides common triggers, surprising things such as stress or medications can also activate your asthma. However, you can take steps to control the disease by avoiding or managing your triggers. You can still enjoy life.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Read also:

You might also like