Medical Conditions

Asthma Triggers

According to the latest information available from the American Lung Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 25 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with asthma, and 7 million of them are children under the age of 18. Both in the U.S. and in other developed countries, there has been a significant increase in asthma .

Why is asthma on the rise?

Some scientists theorize that the decline in serious illness may be one factor in the increase of allergic asthma. They believe it is possible that an under-utilized immune system may overreact to lesser irritants, inappropriately triggering the release of histamine and other inflammatory substances in the lungs.

Other researchers believe that the increased amount of time children are spending indoors is increasing their exposure to carpeting and other allergen-triggers.

What are environmental triggers that can cause an asthma attack?

Allergens that can trigger asthma include:

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Animal protein
  • House/dust mites
  • Cockroaches

Irritants that can trigger asthma include:

  • Strong odors and sprays, such as perfumes, household cleaners, cooking fumes, paints and varnishes
  • Chemicals, such as coal, chalk dust, or talcum powder
  • Air pollutants
  • Chemical exposure on the job, such as occupational vapors, dust, gases or fumes
  • Tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke
  • Wood smoke

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Online Resources of Environmental Medicine

Last reviewed: 6/26/2013