If you are one of the millions of asthma sufferers, you probably know that dust mites, strenuous exercise, pollen, tobacco smoke, mold, and pet dander can aggravate your asthma. But, you may be surprised what uncommon conditions can trigger cough, wheezing, chest pain or tightness and shortness of breath.
Manage this chronic lung and long-term disease by determining if any of these surprising triggers contribute to inflammation and airway constriction. Avoid them if possible to help in reducing asthma flares, while continuing your asthma prescriptions.
7 Unexpected Asthma Triggers:
Drinking certain alcoholic beverages, mainly beer and wine, can increase your flare risk and worsen your asthma symptoms. Some people suspect sulfites can cause nasal congestion, red itchy eyes, upset stomach and difficulty breathing. Conversely, the ethanol present in hard liquor improves asthma and relaxes airways.
You may be allergic to the alcohol or other ingredients. But, even if you are not allergic, alcohol can worsen existing allergy symptoms, mainly food allergies.
2. Air Fresheners and Scented Candles
Indoor air fresheners and scented candles can make your house smell extra sweet, fresh, floral, or earthy, but they may be doing more harm than good when it comes to your health. Fragrances from air fresheners can trigger allergy symptoms or aggravate existing allergies in some people.
Flower scents and perfume are particularly likely to irritate sensitive airways, according to the research results by a Swedish team, which was published in the January 2016 issue of the International Journal of Environmental Health Research.
3. Cold Air
Cold air can quickly trigger an asthma attack in some people. You can try wrapping a scarf across your mouth and breathing through that. It is often enough to warm the air before it enters your airways.
4. Crying or Laughter
Extreme emotional states such as intense crying or heavy laughter can prompt an asthma attack by restricting airflow and changing breathing patterns. It is a form of hyperventilation, which, the same as exercise, can trigger an asthmatic response in individuals with underlying airway inflammation.
5. Food Additives
Food colorings, flavoring agents and food preservatives, have been reported to cause asthma attacks in some people, therefore, make sure to read food labels. Potassium bisulfite, sodium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, sodium metabisulfite and sodium sulfite are all potential triggers.
Sulfites are the most common. Some individuals have trouble with delicatessen meats that are loaded in nitrites, while others may experience asthma symptoms from monosodium glutamate (MSG), or from yellow food coloring containing tartrazine. Still, the scientific evidence regarding some of these potential triggers remains in dispute.
6. GERD and Acid Reflux
GERD and acid reflux both can cause burning and pain in your throat, particularly when you are lying down. Also, these can spark an asthma attack, even if you do not feel heartburn, according to the ACAAI. The acid backs up, therefore causing a hyper-reaction in a person’s airways.
Are you familiar with that feeling, when you are overwhelmed by stress and can sense your chest tightening? That could be stress that is weighing you down or it could be asthma symptoms.
A review of health and mental health data from 206,993 adults, published in the September 2015 Journal of Asthma, found that experiencing psychological distress within the past year was strongly correlated with asthma symptoms.