Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Many asthma triggers are invisible. Follow these guidelines to reduce the sources of irritation that may cause asthma flare-ups.

Colds and Flu

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Secondhand Smoke

  • Don’t allow smoking in your home or in your car. (“No Smoking” signs make good reminders.)
  • If you need help to quit smoking, call the PA Quitline toll-free at 1-877-724-1090.

Dust Mites

  • Cover mattresses and pillows in dust-proof covers.
  • Wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water.
  • Choose washable stuffed toys for children and wash them often in hot water.
  • Don’t put stuffed toys on your child’s bed.
  • Change furnace filters once a month.

Pet Dander

  • Keep your dogs and cats outdoors or consider finding a new home for your pets.
  • Keep pets out of bedrooms.
  • Cover heat vents in your child’s room with cloth filters.
  • Don’t let pets sit on fabric-covered furniture.
  • Wipe off wood, metal and plastic furniture every week.

Pests (Roaches & insects)

  • Don’t leave food lying around. Store all food in airtight containers. Empty the trash every day.
  • Wipe up all food crumbs or spilled liquids right away.
  • Use roach traps.
  • If you must use bug spray, make sure to spray when your child is not at home and air out the room for several hours before they come back.


  • Wash mold off counters, walls and other hard surfaces and dry completely.
  • Scrub shower walls and shower curtain with bleach at least once a month.
  • Fix leaky faucets or windows that might let in water.
  • Don’t put plants in your child’s bedroom.
  • Use a dehumidifier in your home to reduce moisture.