Asthma Triggers

Information about asthma triggers and how to manage them.

People with asthma have “triggers,” things that cause asthma symptoms or make them worse. Triggers are different for each person. Knowing what your individual triggers are and controlling exposure to them can help keep your asthma under control.


Common Asthma Triggers

  • Dust Mites
  • Animals: dog, cat, rabbit, birds, rats, horses
  • Pollen from trees, grass, weeds
  • Molds
  • Cockroaches and their droppings
  • Rodents and their droppings
  • Food: Peanuts, eggs, strawberries etc.
  • Changes in weather
  • Cold, dry air 
  • Hot, humid air
  • Wet weather
  • Wind
  • Chemical Irritants
  • Hairspray
  • Paint fumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Colds
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Sinus infection
  • Other respiratory illnesses
Strong Emotions
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Excitement
  • Sadness
  • Laughter
Smoke-related Irritants
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cigar smoke
  • Pipe smoke
  • Wild fires
  • Wood burning
  • Car exhaust
  • Air pollution

For information on how to manage asthma triggers, please see the American Lung Association.

To identify triggers in your home please see the EPA Home Characteristics and Asthma Triggers Checklist for Home Visitors.



Air Quality and Asthma

Asthma symptoms can occur or worsen when air pollution levels are high. Both ozone and particle pollution can have negative health impacts. On days with poor air quality, people with asthma should: 

  • Limit outdoor activities 
  • Make sure to have quick-relief medicine available 
  • Follow their asthma action plan 
  • Talk to a healthcare provider if symptoms are concerning 
  • Pay attention to alerts and advisories and follow emergency guidance

The Air Quality Index (AQI) uses a simple color scale to tell how clean or polluted the air is. You can check the AQI in your local area and learn more about air quality and asthma at