An asthma trigger is anything that causes irritation in the airways and causes asthma symptoms to flair up. One of the keys to preventing asthma attacks is to understand your triggers and avoid them as much as possible. Discovering outdoor triggers can be challenging, as the outdoors expose us to many possible irritants and a continually changing environment. Common outdoor asthma triggers are listed below.
- Pollen- Pollen becomes airborne from a variety of trees, weeds and flowering plants. While it is impossible to avoid breathing in pollen completely, you can watch the pollen reports on your local weather station and avoid being outdoors when pollen counts are predicted to be especially high.
- Poor air quality- Hot, sunny and smoggy days often wreck havoc on asthma sufferers. Like the pollen count, you can monitor the air quality on your local weather station. Avoid outdoor activities, especially outdoor exercise, on days where the air quality is poor. Opt for a visit to the gym or cleaning indoors as an alternative workout.
- Weather- Asthma sufferers react differently to different weather patterns. Some people may have asthma flair ups in hot, muggy weather, while others may have worse symptoms during very cold and dry weather. Keep a journal that includes the weather to help pinpoint what weather works best for your asthma.
- Dust- While we typically think of the indoors in regards to dust, certain outdoor places may have high levels of dust. Farms, stables and zoos often catch asthma sufferers off guard, so to play it safe, make sure you have your medication with you anytime you visit a new outdoor venue.
Ramie Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT