What Triggers Asthma

With asthma, you have constant inflammation and irritation of your airways. It is exposure and reaction to certain things called triggers that make your asthma worse.


What Triggers Asthma

People with asthma have sensitive airways that overreact to many different stimuli such as:

  • air pollution
  • certain foods or medicines
  • changes in weather or exposure to very cold air
  • cockroaches
  • cold or flu
  • crying, laughing, or yelling
  • exercise
  • mold
  • perfumes
  • pets
  • pollen
  • smoke

Asthma is an inflammatory condition that your airways have all the time. It is made worse when you are exposed to your triggers. These triggers cause inflammation, which results in a blockage of your airways. This means you will have:


  • narrowing of your airways
  • increase in mucus
  • swelling in your airways

Written by Karen Serrano, MD

Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD

Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine

Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University

Board certified in Allergy and Immunology

Last updated June 2008