Asthma affects over 5.1 million children, and unfortunately, 44% of those children have experienced asthma attacks in the past year. In addition to taking long-term control medication, many kids can help reduce the risk of asthma attacks by avoiding their triggers.
But what are asthma triggers, and what can you do about them? Read on as Drs. Ines Munoz De Laborde and Svetlana Burkhead answer these two questions.
7 common asthma triggers
An asthma trigger refers to any condition, activity, or substance that exacerbates asthma symptoms. Asthma triggers don’t cause asthma; they just make it worse.
The seven most common asthma triggers in children are:
- Exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke
- Airway infections, including the common cold and COVID-19
- Air pollution (indoor and outdoor)
- Allergy triggers, including dust mites, pollen, and mold
- Specific weather conditions, including cold air
- Animal dander
Not all children have the same asthma triggers. To compound matters, your child may have several asthma triggers, and asthma symptoms don’t necessarily appear immediately after being exposed to the trigger.
What to do about asthma triggers
To help identify your child’s trigger (or triggers), try keeping a log of symptoms, asthma attacks, and any other pertinent information that may help determine what activities or substances make your child’s asthma worse.
Once you’ve identified your child’s triggers, create a plan to avoid them. This may include:
- Placing air filters throughout your home
- Vacuuming regularly and changing bedding to reduce dust mites
- Staying inside (if possible) on high pollen days
- Not allowing pets to sleep in your child’s bed (if they trigger asthma)
For children who have both allergies and asthma, allergy medication may help reduce the allergy-related asthma attacks.
How asthma is managed
Asthma management means that your asthma symptoms are minimal throughout the day and night, and your child performs daily activities without coughing, wheezing, or chest pain.
This can usually be achieved if your child:
- Avoids their triggers
- Takes a long-term control medication
- Uses a rescue inhaler (when needed)
If your child has to use a rescue inhaler often, the asthma may not be well-controlled. In this case, our team may reevaluate your child’s current asthma management plan and make adjustments.
How we can help
If your child is experiencing an asthma flare-up, don’t hesitate to visit our walk-in clinic. Not only can we help address your child’s symptoms, but we also offer spirometry tests, a common pulmonary function test. Spirometry measures how much air your child exhales and how quickly they do so.
Additionally, we can help manage your child’s asthma by treating underlying conditions that can exacerbate asthma symptoms. We diagnose and treat a variety of respiratory infections in our walk-in urgent care clinic.
If you’re concerned about your child’s asthma, visit our walk-in clinic. Or, if you’d like to schedule an asthma consultation, call our San Jose, California, office at 408-207-4637 or use our online form.