Allergens and Triggers are substances which can cause the airways in children with asthma to become narrow and inflamed, leading to increased asthma symptoms or asthma attacks. Allergen causes an allergic reaction while triggers lead to worsening due to non-allergic reactions.

These allergens and triggers can differ between children. Allergens can be inside the house or indoor allergens or outside the house or outdoor allergens. Similarly, triggers can also be indoor or outoor. It should be remembered that multiple allergens might be involved in a child with asthma.

What are the common indoor allergens?

Common indoor allergens for asthma include house dust mites, animal dander, molds, pollen and cockroach droppings. House dust mites (HDM, or simply dust mites) are a large number of mites found in association with dust in dwellings. These are the most common allergens seen world-over. All warm-blooded animals (dog, cats) shed tiny flakes from their skin called dander (it’s like dandruff in humans, but much harder to see). This can a major source of problem if you have a pet have home.

What are the common outdoor allergens?

Common Outdoor allergens for asthma are pollens from grass, trees and weeds. They usually effect children in particular seasons. They also vary from one geographical area to the other.

What are the common triggers for Asthma?

Environmental tobacco smoke like cigarettes, bidi, hooka, etc has also shown to be a significant problem world-over. Second hand tobacco smoke can be an important problem in urban households and can worsen asthma. Many households still use biomass fuel for cooking especially in the rural areas using chulas. Females spending most of the time at home are the most affected. Other indoor allergens are mosquito coils, aggarbatti, dhoopbatti, perfumes, deodorants etc. Paint and household cleansing chemical could also cause worsening asthma symptoms. The other environmental trigger in most parts of India is environmental or ambient air pollution of which the most important is the PM2.5.

If you or your child has asthma, it is important to keep track of the causes or triggers that you know provoke your child’s asthma. Avoiding triggers, if possible, can help to control asthma!!!

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