Triggers and four simple steps for tackling them

Key Points

Triggers are the things that make your asthma worse.  It’s important to:

  • Know your triggers
  • Avoid them where possible
  • Be prepared
  • Learn more about them

Find out more about specific triggers below

House Dust Mites

Key Points

  • Minimise clutter and objects that gather dust
  • Dust surfaces with a damp cloth
  • Vacuum soft furnishings, carpet and blinds regularly
  • Open windows to air your room and reduce dampness
  • Wash bedding regularly at 60 degrees
  • Consider allergy coverings for mattresses and bedding
  • Minimise number of soft toys and freeze any favourites monthly for 6 hours


Key Points

If you are struggling:

  • Take a break from your pet and if symptoms improve then rehoming is the answer
  • Banning pets from your bedroom is a good interim measure
  • Be prepared if contact with animals is going to be unavoidable

Air Pollution

Key Points

  • Ensure your asthma control is as good as possible
  • Walk, cycle or scoot where possible when going places
  • Avoid fumes and smokey areas
  • Reduce the risk of black mould by opening windows
  • Avoid burning food when cooking
  • Choose fragrance-free products
  • Become aware of the quality of the air where you are
  • Adjust timing and location of outdoor exercise when air pollution is high
  • Talk to your family and friends about environmentally friendly choices

Warm Weather

Key Points

  • Check the weather forecast regularly and be prepared for high temperatures, pollution levels and pollen levels
  • Try to avoid outdoor activities during the middle of the day when it is hottest
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Be prepared with your allergy medication
    Antihistamines and a steroid nasal spray may be needed regularly during the pollen season. Remember to start treatment as soon as symptoms begin

Cold And Damp Weather

Key Points

  • Wrap up warm
  • Remember seasonal vaccines
  • Keep on top of the cleaning to reduce the house dust mite load

Secondary Smoking

Key Points

Inhaling second hand smoke is almost as bad as smoking itself so avoid smoky places and encourage others to quit.


Select the correct answer for each question by clicking on the toggle button next to it.


Why not take another look at the information and try again?

#1. Which of these things is the odd one out?

The correct answer is c) – sleep.  All the other answers are common triggers for asthma.

#2. How can you reduce the effects of triggers?

The correct answer is c) – follow your Asthma Plan.  You should also take your preventer medication regularly, avoid your triggers and learn more about them.

#3. Which of the following advice is wrong?

The correct answer is b) – avoid antihistamines as they can make symptoms worse.  Antihistamines can reduce symptoms from triggers.

#4. What can you do to help with a house dust mite allergy?

The correct answer is d) – wash bedding regularly at 60 degrees.  If in doubt, read the advice again.

#5. Which of the following statements about smoking is true?

The correct answer is d) – 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible. Cigarette smoking is harmful to others.  It is illegal to smoke in a car containing children and smoking reduces the benefits of preventer medication.

#6. Which statement is the odd one out?

The correct answer is c) – hypoallergenic pets never cause symptoms.  This is false and all the other statements are true.