Top 10 Triggers for Asthma in the Summer

Jennifer Rackley | July 10, 2017

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Pollen

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While most people think of spring as the worst time of year for seasonal allergies, several late-blooming plants produce pollen in the summer. Grass and ragweed are two that can trigger your asthma. Keep up with your asthma medications, take a daily antihistamine and avoid being outdoors on high pollen days

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Mold

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The combination of warm weather and summer thunderstorms can increase outdoor mold growth. Be sure to drain standing water in your yard to help keep mold levels in check. If mold is a huge trigger for your asthma, stay in air-conditioned buildings whenever possible on days when mold levels are especially high.

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Stinging bugs

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Many people who have seasonal allergies are also allergic to stings from bees, wasps, or other insects. If you also have asthma, the result can be a dangerous reaction known as anaphylaxis. If you are allergic to stings or have had an anaphylactic reaction before, talk with your doctor about carrying injectable epinephrine (adrenaline) like EpiPen.

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Bonfire, barbecue or campfire smoke

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Smoke has always been one of the main triggers for people with asthma. But you have more to worry about than cigarette smoke. Bonfires, barbecues, and campfires can all trigger asthma attacks. Try to avoid smoke whenever possible and always carry your rescue inhaler just in case.

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Chlorinated swimming pools

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Chlorine can be a huge trigger for people who are sensitive to chemicals in the environment. It can help to avoid indoor pools, which trap chlorine fumes. If you still find you are having problems, seek out pools that use saltwater or non-chlorine methods for keeping the water clean.

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Seasonal fruits and vegetables

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Summer can be a spectacular time for seasonal produce. But be careful if you are really sensitive to pollen, because those fruits and vegetables can be full of it. Wash produce thoroughly to remove as much pollen as possible and speak with your physician if what you eat exacerbates your asthma or if you experience any oral allergy symptoms.

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Weather shifts

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Weather variations from one season to the next can trigger asthma in individuals who are sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature. Keep up with your controllers and always carry your rescue medication if you are affected by weather shifts.

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Thunderstorms

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Clinicians have seen an uptick in acute asthma attacks due to thunderstorms. Summer storms cause airflow patterns that concentrate pollen and mold spores. These spores are combined with the high humidity in clouds and released as airborne particles when it rains. Keep your eye on the weather and always have a rescue inhaler on hand.

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Air pollution

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This kind of pollution can be worse in the summer months as heat and sunlight react with the chemical pollutants in the air. Check daily air-quality levels before planning anything outdoors, especially if you live in a high-pollution area like Los Angeles or Chicago.

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Disruption of daily routines

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Summer can mean sleeping in, staying out late, and traveling—all of which can make it hard to stay on top of things like taking controller medications on time and monitoring peak flow. Making the extra effort to keep your asthma in check can prevent a nasty flare-up that could really be a bummer for summer!