Learning About Your Child's Asthma Triggers

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A child's lungs

What are asthma triggers?

When your child has asthma, certain things can make the symptoms worse. These things are called triggers. Common triggers include colds, smoke, air pollution, dust, pollen, pets, stress, and cold air. Learn what triggers your child's asthma and help your child avoid the triggers.

How do asthma triggers affect your child?

Triggers can make it harder for your child's lungs to work as they should. They can lead to sudden breathing problems and other symptoms. When your child is around a trigger, an asthma attack is more likely. If your child's symptoms are severe, he or she may need emergency treatment. Your child may have to go to the hospital for treatment.

How can you help your child avoid triggers?

The first thing is to know your child's triggers.

  • When your child is having symptoms, note the things around him or her that might be causing them. Then look for patterns that may be triggering the symptoms. Record the triggers on a piece of paper or in an asthma diary. When you have your child's list of possible triggers, work with your doctor to find ways to avoid them.
  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around your child. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • If there is a lot of pollution, pollen, or dust outside, keep your child at home and keep your windows closed. Use an air conditioner or air filter in your home. Check your local weather report or newspaper for air quality and pollen reports.

What else should you know?

  • Be sure your child gets a flu vaccine every year, as soon as it's available. If your child must be around people with colds or the flu, have your child wash his or her hands often.
  • Have your child get a pneumococcal vaccine shot.
  • Have your child take his or her controller medicine every day, not just when he or she has symptoms. It helps prevent problems before they occur.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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