trigger is anything that can lead to an asthma attack.
A trigger can be:
- Irritants in the air, such as tobacco smoke
or air pollution.
- Substances to which you are allergic (allergens), such as pollen or
- Other factors, such as a
viral infection, exercise, stress, or dry, cold air.
Avoiding triggers will help decrease the chance of
having an asthma attack and, in the case of allergens, will help control
inflammation in the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs. For more
Asthma: Identifying Your Triggers.
If you have asthma triggered by an allergen, taking
antihistamine medicine may help you manage the allergy
and thus limit its effect on your asthma.
Taking your asthma medicine
Taking medicines is an
important part of asthma treatment. But because you may need to take more than
one medicine, it can be hard to remember to take them. To help yourself
remember, understand the reasons people don't take their asthma medicines, and
ways to overcome those obstacles, such as taping a
note to your refrigerator.
Most medicines for asthma are inhaled.
Inhaled medicines give a specific dose of the medicine directly to the
bronchial tubes, avoiding or decreasing the effects of the medicine on the rest
of the body.
Delivery systems for inhaled medicines include
metered-dose and dry powder
nebulizers. A metered-dose inhaler is used most
Sometimes doctors recommend the use of a
spacer with a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). The spacer
is attached to the MDI. A spacer may deliver the medicine to your lungs better
than an inhaler alone, and for many people it is easier to use than an MDI
alone. Using a spacer with inhaled
corticosteroids can help reduce their side effects and
the need for oral corticosteroids.
It is important to
keep track of the inhaler doses and discard the inhaler when you have used the
number of doses indicated on the package labeling. This not only prevents you
from having an empty inhaler when you need medicine, but it also prevents you
from inhaling only propellant after the medicine has run out. Some metered-dose
inhalers and dry powder inhalers have counters that let you know how much
medicine is left. For more information, see:
Asthma: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler.
Asthma: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler.
Most people with asthma can travel freely.
But if you travel to remote areas and participate in intensive physical
activity, such as long hikes, you may be at increased risk for an asthma attack
in an area where emergency help may be difficult to find.
traveling, always bring your medicine with you, carry the prescription for it,
and use it as prescribed. Also carry your asthma action plan so you know what
medicines to take every day and what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Give teens extra attention
Teens who have asthma
may view the disease as cutting into their independence and setting them apart
from their peers. Parents and other adults should offer support and
encouragement to help teens stick with a treatment program. It's important
- Help your teen remember that asthma is only
one part of life.
- Allow your teen to meet with the doctor alone.
This will encourage your teen to become involved in his or her
- Work out a daily management plan that allows a teen to
continue daily activities, especially sports. Exercise is important for
maintaining strong lungs and overall health.
- Talk to your teen
about the dangers of smoking and drug use.
- Encourage your teen to
meet others who have asthma so they can support each other.