8 Asthma Triggers to Eliminate for Healthy Children

Eliminate asthma triggers to make your home asthma-friendly and allergy-friendly.

Identify Asthma Triggers: The first step to eliminating your child’s asthma triggers is to find out what the triggers are. Keep an asthma diary or log” of symptoms. Try to relate the attacks to the activities, foods, environment, anything that you can think of that your child was exposed to prior to the asthma attack.

This is the main key to eliminating asthma from your child’s life:  eliminate the triggers for their asthma from their life, and prevent irritation that leads to broncho-contriction.  Asthma triggers are environmental conditions that bring on an asthma attack.  Most asthmatics have similar triggers for their asthma.

asthma triggers

Some Common Asthma Triggers Include

  • Allergies
  • Viral URI – common cold
  • Grasses
  • Trees
  • Molds
  • Dust, dust mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Pets: cats, dogs, hamsters, birds
  • Outdoor pollutants: auto exhaust, diesel exhaust, industrial effluent
  • Indoor pollutants: various cleaning solutions, scents: perfumes, hair shampoos, air “fresheners”
  • Smoke: tobacco smoke!!  Wood smoke: fireplaces, wood-burning stoves
  • Some medications
  • Stress

Reduce Asthma Triggers:

Treat Allergies

According to the Allergy and Allergy Foundation of America, about 80% of children with asthma have allergies.  Have your asthmatic child allergy-tested.  If your child has allergy-triggered asthma and testing shows that they have defined allergies, “allergy-desentization” shots may change their lives. Allergy shots changed my life!  Unfortunately, they don’t work for everyone’s allergies. If you are considering ‘allergy shots,’ also take a look into “allergy tongue drops.”

Control Stress

If your asthma log leads you to believe that stress is a common trigger for your child’s asthma, start taking steps to fix the problem. Guided imagery uses our mind-body connection, helping us control our body’s asthma reaction to stress through images. That is, we can “daydream” our way out of a pending asthma attack.  Children are very good at “guided imagery” and visualization to relieve their stress. See Lawrence Rosen’s thinking on guided imagery for asthma, in his Chapter on Integrative Pediatric Primary Care. [Note: still available at time of writing this article, January 2017; no telling how long that link will be valid.] Also take a look at a couple articles, Can Your Child THINK AWAY Their Asthma, and Yoga for Asthma.

Eat the Right Fats

Think of healthy fats as “brain foods.” Fresher is better!  The polyunsaturated and hydrogenated fats that are universally present in processed snack foods increase the body’s inflammatory response. Knock out store-bought cookies, crackers, and other snacks from your child’s (and yours for that matter) diet. Encourage more fresh fruits and vegetables, stay away from processed foods.

Get the right Vitamins

More “brain foods – part 2.” For children over the age of 5 years, use a good multivitamin that includes C, B-complex, A, E, and selenium. The omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) may be anti-inflammatory.

Optimize Diet

More than 80% of people with food allergies are allergic to milk, eggs, soybeans, wheat, peanuts, other nuts, shellfish, or corn, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Ask your pediatrician about setting up an elimination diet to identify foods your child may be allergic to. Many of the processed foods that make up the “typical American diet” will increase gastro-esophageal reflux (GER). And we know that GER is a common asthma-trigger, especially in children!

Best Exercise

For stable asthma, exercise is known to be beneficial. According to Dr. John D. Mark, of Stanford University, martial arts and yoga are especially beneficial because they teach control of breathing. If your child has “exercise-induced asthma,” this may be prevented by pre-medicating with some of the broncho-constriction blockers. Ask your pediatrician.

Clean Your Air

If you smoke, even outside, STOP NOW!!  If you smoke, YOU are a trigger for your child’s asthma. You don’t want to hear it, too bad. I can’t change the facts. Keep your little asthmatic away from others who smoke. For you:  Get hypnotized, get acupuncture, get the patch.  Just get it done!  ‘Nuff said.

Use an air filter in your child’s room to optimize the air quality. Keep the windows closed to minimize outdoor pollutants and allergens in their indoor environment.

For mild-to-moderate asthma, simply eliminating triggers may enough to “cure” their asthma:  eliminate the cause…eliminate the disease. For mild asthma, simple anti-inflammatory medications (or supplements) may be adequate to prevent progression to a full-blown asthma exacerbation or attack. This class of medications includes ibuprofen.

For moderate to severe asthma we need all of the above techniques, and commonly, additional medications. These include strong anti-inflammatory medications and bronchodilators (inhalers).

And enjoy this great Infographic on Reducing the Dust Problem! (from Spotless Vacuum)


6 Tricks to Relieve a Dust Allergy Courtesy of the team at SpotlessVacuum.co.uk

John D. Mark, MD.  Your Sick Child at Amazon:  http://bit.ly/bYgulH

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:  http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=19&cont=253


  1. I’ve heard anecdotally that allergy shots, in addition to lessening the usual allergic symptoms, help make colds and respiratory infections less severe as well. My pulmonologist said there’s no evidence of this, but so many people have said their winter colds are so much less severe now. What’s your take on this? My son and I started allergy shots last March and are now on maintenance, and I have to say, we both had colds this fall that were mild and gone about 3x faster than usual. Thanks!

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks so much for visiting, and sharing your question.

      I personally experienced what you describe – decreased respiratory cold-symptoms, and ascribed that to my allergy shots. I can only speculate why that might be so: those who struggle with allergies, and all the associated chronic airway inflammation, experience a reduced baseline of inflammation as a result of desensitization from allergy shots. If you’re one of the lucky folks who get that benefit from allergy shots, it’s a great phenomenon!

      On the other hand, so many people with allergies have such a strong baseline of airway inflammation, with all the circulating inflammatory cytokines, that even allergy shots don’t provide them with much relief.

      Thank you again for visiting, and for your insightful question!

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