Asthma is the most common chronic disease suffered by children, with more than 5 million American kids affected. Asthma can cause breathing difficulties ranging from mild to severe.
Managing your child’s asthma requires an understanding of their triggers, those substances and conditions that set an asthma attack into motion. Every asthma patient has their own sensitivities, so sometimes it can take some detective work to identify the triggers.
Partnering with a pediatrician who’s an asthma specialist, such as Smita Tandon, MD, of Dr 2 Kids in Fountain Valley, California, is the best way to help your child breathe well. Dr. Tandon and her team can identify your child’s triggers and develop a medication plan to control and minimize attacks.
What is an asthma trigger?
The things that trigger asthma attacks are generally harmless to others who don’t have asthma. For example, a high pollen day in the spring can cause hay fever symptoms in an asthmatic and no reaction in others.
Common asthma triggers for children include:
- Environmental allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, and animal dander
- Pollutants, such as smoke, pesticides, and other airborne toxins
- Mold resulting from excessive indoor humidity
- Cold, dry air, particularly during periods of physical activity
- Respiratory infections, such as colds or flu, which can aggravate asthma symptoms and trigger attacks
Asthma attacks can also result from less-common triggers, such as perfumes, fragrances, and cleaning products. Foods and additives used with processed foods can also set off attacks, as can some medications. While cold, dry air is more common, hot and humid weather can also be an issue.
Mild to moderate physical activity is often beneficial for a child with asthma, but overexertion can also act as a trigger. Furthermore, strong emotions and anxiety can cause hyperventilation, which, in turn, can start asthma attacks.
It’s not always possible for a child to completely avoid all triggers. However, you can take steps to reduce their exposure and, combined with the effective use of asthma medications, you can help reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.
The steps you take will depend on the triggers that affect your child. For example, if mold is the issue, you may only need to run exhaust fans to reduce mold formation. Or, if dust mites and pet dander are the issue, you may need to wash their bedding more frequently and enhance your filtration capabilities with your furnace and vacuum.
No matter what your child’s asthma issue is, Dr. Tandon can help. Dr. Tandon can uncover the triggers that are affecting your child and design a plan to help reduce their exposure and fight the symptoms when they occur. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr 2 Kids today for an in-person visit or telehealth meeting.