Asthma, also known as bronchial asthma or reactive airway disease is a common inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. A myriad of causes including genetic and environmental factors are known to cause asthma.

People having a family history of asthma or related allergic conditions like eczema, food allergy or hay fever are more prone to the condition. Coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness are the most common symptoms of an asthma attack.

Different asthma triggers impact patients in varying magnitude. Once the patient is aware of the trigger, precautions may be taken to avoid them. Some common triggers of Asthma include:

Airway and chest infections
Respiratory infections, sinus infections, allergies and acid reflux can spark off asthma attacks. The upper airways tend to get congested if a person with asthma catches a cold.

Allergens
Pollen, dust mites, pets, animal fur or feathers can lead to an asthma attack. The necessary precautions include using mattress covers and pillowcase covers, sweeping areas infested by small insects, bathing pets every day and keeping them out of the house for as long as possible.

Burning Wood
Burning wood emits harmful gases and small particles into the atmosphere. Patients with Asthma should refrain from inhaling such smoke to avoid an asthma attack.

Cigarette Smoke
In general, smoking is unhealthy. It can prove injurious to an asthmatic as it has the potency to trigger asthma symptoms. While it is critical for the patient to quit smoking, it is also advisable to avoid second hand smoke.

Medicines
Certain category of medicines especially painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) tend to activate asthma symptoms. It is because of this reason that medical practitioners advise children less than 16 years of age to avoid taking aspirin and ibuprofen.

Mould
Humidity can lead to growth of mould, which in turn, can trigger an asthma attack. If there is an asthmatic patient at home, it is advisable to use an air conditioner or dehumidifier. Experts suggest that the humidity levels should be no more than 50 percent. Such levels can be checked with the help of a gadget called hygrometer.

Vigorous physical exercises, extreme weather conditions, food additives, fragrances and exhibiting strong emotions are also known to trigger asthma symptoms.

Edited by: Medhavi Gulati

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