10 Triggers of Allergic Asthma

Allergic reactions to a number of substances, like pollen, mold, dust mites, animal dander, and the environment, have become commonplace and can cause any number of unpleasant reactions.


Dominique Vanier
Dominique Vanier

14 December 2016

Causes of allergic asthma

Allergic asthma occurs when an allergen triggers your asthma symptoms.  Some individuals will experience sneezing and watery eyes when they encounter an allergen; those with allergic asthma, on the other hand, will experience an asthma attack.

When your immune system encounters offending allergens, it overreacts by producing specific antibodies (called immunoglobulin E or IgE antibodies). These antibodies then signal the immune system to mount an aggressive and rapid attack, which causes the release of inflammation-mediating chemicals like histamine.

Histamine is the chief compound responsible for asthmatic symptoms, including the inflammation and tightening of airways and excessive mucous secretion.

Symptoms of allergic and non-allergic asthma are virtually the same. The four cardinal signs of asthma are bronchospasm (tightening of airway muscles), edema (excess fluid), inflammation, and mucous secretion.

Allergic asthma can be triggered by more than just the common allergens. Irritants including tobacco smoke, air pollution, and chemical odours and perfumes may also be at fault for inducing an allergic asthma attack.

Are you unsure of the cause of your allergic asthma?

Here are 10 common and unsuspecting triggers that may send your allergic asthma into a tailspin:

  1. Air fresheners
  2. Paint
  3. Food preservatives, such as sulfites found in wine
  4. Fruits, including apples, pears, bananas, and peaches
  5. Cockroaches, specifically their saliva, feces, and body parts
  6. Dust mites
  7. Mould
  8. Pets
  9. Pollen
  10. Smoke, such as tobacco smoke and the smoke released during the combustion of wood

Lifestyle changes for allergic asthma

Luckily, there are some easy lifestyle modifications that can help address allergic asthma flare-ups:

  • Avoid known triggers. Known allergens like cigarette smoke and chemicals in the workplace or environment should be avoided. If you suffer from allergic asthma, avoiding smoke and chemicals should be a primary goal.
  • Keep your home clean. If your home environment contains dust mites that exacerbate your allergic asthma, try encasing pillows, mattresses, and box springs with allergen-proof covers. Washing bed sheets once a week in hot water can also help eliminate dust mites.
  • Breathe easy. Using a “high efficiency particulate air” or HEPA filter will mechanically filter the air in your home to trap small, harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and even tobacco smoke.
  • Get symptomatic relief. For mild allergic asthma accompanied by other allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy nose, scratching throat, and burning eyes, Allergy Relief may help impact histamine levels and alleviate allergic symptoms.
  • Exercise, but know your limits. In asthmatic individuals, moderate exercise can help improve lung function and breathing. In fact, no exercise coupled with a high body mass index (BMI) is a risk factor for asthmatic reactions.
  • Work with your primary healthcare provider. Work with your primary healthcare provider to determine a baseline of your peak flow reading – a measure of how efficiently air flows from your lungs. Peak flow readings can detect narrowing of your airways hours or days before asthmatic symptoms start. It is important to be monitored by your healthcare provider to ensure you are managing your allergic asthma appropriately.
  • Be aware of warning signs. Allergic asthma symptoms usually come with early warning signs before an episode. These include coughing, chest tightness, and fatigue. Ensuring you are equipped to treat your asthma is important in avoiding a more progressed asthma attack.