Asthma Triggers You May Have Forgotten About

Asthma is a chronic lung disease which inflames and constricts the airways. It is set off by certain triggers and exacerbates over time. Asthma can be relatively well-controlled by following a treatment plan prescribed by your asthma doctor in Staten Island, as well as following home health care tips. An asthma trigger is anything that irritates your airways and sets off your asthma symptoms.

Most Common Asthma Triggers

Things that commonly make asthma worse include:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Pollution
  • Other airborne irritants


Most people with asthma don’t need to follow any special diet, but did you know that for some people there are foods that can make asthma symptoms worse?

A small number of people with asthma have food allergies which cause asthma symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

Some evidence suggests that you are at a higher risk for having a life-threatening attack if you have both asthma and a food allergy. If you do, make sure to strictly avoid that food and make sure your asthma is well-managed. Make sure to have regular check-ups with your asthma doctor in Staten Island.

Foods and Ingredients that Frequently Cause Allergies Include:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Nuts, especially peanuts
  • Seeds
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Food Additives
  • Salicylates (which are chemicals found naturally in plant foods including tea, coffee and dried herbs and spices, and are also a main ingredient of anti-inflammatory painkillers such as aspirin.)


Asthma symptoms can be triggered by any type of alcohol.

In an Asthma UK survey, 75% of people with asthma said that alcohol triggered their symptoms. The worst offenders, starting with the most common, are:

  1. Red Wine
  2. White Wine
  3. Beer
  4. Cider

It may surprise you to learn that it is not the ethanol (pure alcohol,) but the histamine present in the drink that causes the asthmatic reaction. Histamine is the same substance that your body produces when you are having an allergic reaction. It follows that if you drink histamine directly, you will feel allergic and possibly have asthma symptoms.

Some alcoholic beverages also contain preservatives called sulfite. Approximately 3-10% of people with asthma are sensitive to sulfites; reactions can range from wheezing to a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.


Have you ever had asthma symptoms while laughing, crying, or experiencing other strong emotions? Everyone at every age feels all sorts of strong and even mild emotions. Asthma symptoms can be triggered by our emotions and the way we express them.

“GINA (Global initiative for asthma) lists laughter as a main asthma trigger, and the American Thoracic Society did a study which showed that half of its study group had laughter as a trigger for their asthma.”

Anyone who has asthma can have their symptoms triggered by emotions, but there are certain groups who are more at risk:

People Whose Asthma is Not Well Managed

If you are managing your illness well, your emotional ups-and-downs won’t affect your asthma as much.


Children react quickly and strongly to things going on around them. Bursts of excitement, laughter, or crying spells could trigger asthma symptoms.


Teens are notorious for their mood swings and emotional outbursts. At this age, the part of the brain linked to managing and controlling emotions has not yet fully developed. This affects how young people react to their feelings and express them and can often trigger asthma attacks.

Teenagers’ moodiness – paired with social pressures – also puts them at risk for behaviors such as smoking and drinking, things which can also trigger asthma attacks. If you suspect your teen has asthma, make an appointment with Dr. Mayank Shukla – the premier asthma doctor in Staten Island.

Women in General

During pregnancy, menopause, or PMS, women go through hormonal changes which affect their mood and mental state and can make them more likely to experience an asthma attack.

Asthma in Children

In children under 5 years old, asthma symptoms may be triggered or worsened by:

  • Colds or other respiratory infections
  • Allergy-causing agents (allergens), such as dust, pet dander or pollen
  • Activity or exercise
  • In infants, feeding
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke or other airborne irritants
  • Strong emotional reactions, such as crying or laughing
  • Gastrointestinal reflux
  • Changes or extremes in weather

Control Asthma Triggers

Minimize your young child’s exposure to triggers by:

  • Cleaning thoroughly to control dust and pet dander
  • Checking pollen count reports
  • Removing cleaning products or other household products that may be an irritant
  • Administering allergy medicine as directed by your doctor
  • Teaching your child hand washing and other habits to minimize colds
  • Teaching your child to understand and avoid triggers

Asthma Doctor in Staten Island

For help managing your asthma symptoms, call Dr. Mayank Shukla at (917)765-7469 or email his team at info@drmayankshukla.com. He encourages you to take his Asthma Control Test to see if your asthma is under control or if you need more care.

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