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Controlling Asthma Triggers: Other

You may find there are things that trigger your asthma that aren’t allergens or irritants. These include weather changes, illness, exercise, and other conditions or situations. If any of these trigger asthma symptoms, check off the tips below that can help. Then, give the tips a try.


Certain types of weather can trigger asthma or contribute to other triggers such as allergies. Of course, you can’t control the weather! But you can take more care at times when weather may be an issue.

Checkbox. Keep track of which types of weather affect you most: cold, hot, humid, or windy. This varies from person to person.

Checkbox. Limit outdoor activity during the type of weather that affects you.

Checkbox. Protect your lungs by wearing a scarf over your mouth and nose in cold weather.

Closeup of hands in sink with running water. Hands are covered with soap suds.

Colds, Flu, and Sinus Infections

Illnesses that affect the nose and throat (upper respiratory infections) can irritate your lungs. You can’t prevent all illness, but you may be able to prevent some:

Checkbox. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water or a hand sanitizer.

Checkbox. Get a yearly flu shot.

Checkbox. Take care of your general health. Get plenty of sleep. And eat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables.

Food Additives

Food additives can trigger asthma flare-ups in some people. Check food labels for “sulfites,” “metabisulfites,” and “sulfur dioxide.” These are often found in foods such as wine, beer, and dried fruit. Avoid foods that contain these additives.


Certain medications cause symptoms in some people with asthma. These include aspirin and aspirinlike products such as ibuprofen and naproxen. They also include certain prescribed medicines such as some beta-blockers.

Checkbox. Tell your healthcare provider if you suspect that certain medications trigger symptoms. Ask for a list of products that contain those medications.

Checkbox. Check the labels on over-the-counter medicines. Medicines for colds and sinus problems often contain aspirin or aspirinlike ingredients.


Laughing, crying, or feeling excited are triggers for some people. You can’t avoid these normal emotions, but you can learn ways to slow your breathing and avert a flare-up.

Checkbox. Try this breathing exercise: Start by breathing in slowly through your nose for a count of 2 seconds. Then pucker your lips and breathe out for a count of 4 seconds.

Checkbox. Try to focus on a soothing image in your mind. This will help relax you and calm your breathing.

Checkbox. Remember to take your daily controller medications. When you’re upset or under stress, it’s easy to forget.


For some people, exercise can trigger asthma symptoms. This is called exercise-induced asthma. Don’t let exercise-induced asthma keep you from being active. If your asthma is in control, you should be able to exercise without triggering symptoms. These tips (and your healthcare provider’s advice) can help:

Checkbox. Take quick-relief medication a few minutes before exercise, as prescribed.

Checkbox. Always carry your quick-relief inhaler with you when you exercise.

Checkbox. Stop and follow your action plan if you notice asthma symptoms.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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