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Aug 15

Household Asthma Triggers

Posted on August 15, 2023 at 8:00 AM by Hannah Commins

Did you know that there could be possible asthma triggers in your home? Asthma triggers are defined as a thing, activity or condition that makes asthma worse. Encountering a trigger can cause your body to react abruptly with worsening symptoms, often called an asthma attack, episode or flare up. For some people, these triggers can just irritate their asthma symptoms. It is important to not only know what triggers your asthma but to reduce them.

Common asthma triggers that can be found in your home are allergens and irritants, which can include pet dander/hair, mold, and dust mites. Let’s take a look at each of these irritants to learn more about them and what can be done to help reduce them in your home.

Mold – Mold growth in the home can usually be found in damp areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements or areas where there is water damage. Getting rid of mold in the home is important because breathing in mold can trigger an asthma attack even if you are not allergic to mold. Here are some tips to reduce mold in the home:

  • Fix water leaks as soon as possible so that mold cannot grow behind walls or under floors.
  • Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to maintain low indoor humidity (keeping indoor humidity below 50% helps reduce moisture to prevent mold)
  • Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water then dry completely.
  • Run the bathroom exhaust fan or open the window when showering.

Pet Dander/Hair - As cute as our fury friends can be their dander (the tiny flakes of skin that are shed by animals with fur) can trigger an asthma attack if you are allergic to it. If you are allergic to pet dander and do not want to find a new home for your pet you can decrease your exposure to this asthma trigger by:

  • Keeping your pets out of the bedroom.
  • Washing your fury pets regularly.
  • Using an air cleaner with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

Dust mites – Among the dust in our home there are dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic bugs so we cannot see them, but they are found in many homes. If you are allergic to dust mites, they can trigger your asthma symptoms. To prevent this trigger, you can:

  • Wash your bedding weekly and dry it completely.
  • Vacuum carpets, area rugs, and floors regularly.
  • Dust surfaces with a duster and wash surfaces.
  • Keep relative humidity levels in the home low.

The best way to determine what your asthma triggers are and if there are any in your home is to talk to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can advise you on how to identify and manage household triggers for asthma and allergies and develop a plan to help manage symptoms. Knowing what causes your asthma symptoms is an important step toward controlling your asthma.

Our Healthy Neighborhoods Program can provide free in-home assessments and interventions within the Cortland County Community for asthma/indoor air pollution. We seek to reduce the burden of housing related illness such as asthma triggers through a holistic, healthy homes approach.

During the healthy home assessment, staff will discuss different ideas on promoting a healthy home and offer educational materials as well as refer to outside agencies if needed. Our Health Educators in this program can also provide products to help participants meet their healthy home goals.

For more information or to fill out a contact form for a health educator to contact you for a healthy home assessment, please visit our Healthy Neighborhoods webpage:



Common Asthma Triggers | CDC

Reduce Asthma Triggers | American Lung Association