Spring is just around the corner, and while many people look forward to warmer weather, some parents worry about the increase of pollen in the air.
For children with asthma, the allergens in the air can set off an attack, along with other triggers.
According to Kimberly Byrne, Banner Children’s Pediatric Asthma Program Manager, these triggers can be found almost anywhere, and everyone responds to them differently.
Common asthma triggers
Several things can be a common asthma trigger, including:
- Respiratory infections such as cold and flu. This is the most common cause of asthma attacks.
- Allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, cockroaches and pet dander.
- Exercise that causes heavy breathing.
- Emotions and high stress.
- Certain times of the day or seasons in the year, such as close to bedtime or high-pollen time during the spring.
- Exposure to second or third hand smoke. Third hand smoke is chemicals located on hair, skin, clothing, car upholstery, and in the home — where anyone someone smokes cigarettes, e-cigarettes, hookah, or cigars.
- Strong smells — perfume, paint, smoke, cleaning products.
- Weather changes such as cold air, dust storms or a change from hot to cold.
- Food allergies.
- Heartburn, acid reflux or an upset stomach.
- Medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
According to Byrne, spring is not the only time to be concerned about asthma attacks. There are triggers that can occur in all seasons.
- Winter — Colds & Viruses such as the flu is the No. 1 cause of asthma attacks during this season. Cold air changes can also contribute.
- Spring — Allergies and increase in pollen can cause asthma attacks
- Summer — High Pollution Days — increased pollution causes increased rates of pollen. Bad air quality can trigger asthma attacks.
- Fall — Dust Storms/Haboobs, fall allergy season, back to school germs/colds.
For the spring season, Byrne recommends getting allergy tested so you know your triggers and if you may need allergy medications along with your daily asthma controller medicine.
“It is important to note that asthma does not have to control you or your child’s life,” Byrne said. “Contact your child’s primary care provider or pulmonologist if any signs of an asthma flare-up occur. Follow all instructions given for taking daily controller inhalers or breathing treatments. Learn your triggers and turn on your radar.”
For further tips about childhood asthma, check out the free Banner Asthma Workbook.