Although there is no certain way to
asthma, you can take steps to reduce
airway inflammation and the likelihood of
The main focus of
prevention is to reduce the number, length, and severity of asthma attacks. By
triggers, you may be able to prevent or reduce the
severity of symptoms. For more information on identifying your triggers,
- Asthma: Identifying Your Triggers.
If you can predict or often have asthma attacks when you
exercise, use your inhaler 10 minutes before you start the activity so you can
avoid an attack.
The following is information about specific
triggers. If you know that any of these cause your symptoms to become worse,
you should avoid or limit your exposure to them.
Irritants in the air
Common irritants in the air,
such as tobacco smoke and air pollution, can trigger asthma attacks in some
Controlling tobacco smoke is important because it is a
major cause of asthma symptoms in children and adults. If you have asthma, try
to avoid being around others who are smoking, and ask people not to smoke in
- Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes during
pregnancy increase the risk of
wheezing in their newborn babies.
young children to secondhand tobacco smoke increases the likelihood that they
will develop asthma and increases the severity of symptoms if they already have
Some household cleaning products cause asthma symptoms or
make them worse. If a cleaning product seems to trigger your asthma, stop using
it or use another product that does not cause symptoms.
staying inside when air pollution levels are high. Other irritants in the air
(such as fumes from gas, oil, or kerosene or wood-burning stoves) can sometimes
irritate the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs. Avoiding these may
decrease your asthma symptoms.
If you are allergic to certain
substances (allergens), you may decrease your asthma symptoms by
limiting exposure to these substances.
To help reduce your
exposure to allergens:
You may also need to avoid exposure to other types
of triggers that cause asthma symptoms.
- Get a flu vaccine every
year. Have your family members get one too.
- Get a
pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV)(What is a PDF document?). The vaccine may not prevent pneumonia, but it can prevent some of the serious complications of pneumonia.
- Control your exposure to
pollens in the air if you are allergic to them. Check
your local weather report or newspaper for pollen counts in your area.
- Avoid exercising outdoors in cold weather. The air may irritate
your airways. If you are outdoors in cold weather, wear a scarf around your
face and breathe through your nose.
- Avoid foods that may cause
asthma symptoms. Some people have symptoms after eating processed potatoes,
shrimp, nuts, and dried fruit, or after drinking beer or wine. These foods and
liquids contain sulfites, which may cause asthma symptoms.
taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or other similar medicines if they increase asthma
symptoms. Consider using acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead. (Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of