What can make symptoms worse?

Asthma symptoms may get worse from time to time. Some people find that symptoms are triggered at certain times or in particular situations. Allergies can also provide the trigger for asthma symptoms.

Asthma may also be triggered by a number of different factors like smoke, colds & flu, physical activity or emotions. Often, people react to more than one trigger. It is important to learn how to recognise your triggers and learn how to avoid them (where possible) to help reduce symptoms.


House dust mites
House dust mites are tiny creatures that live in carpets, bedding and other fabrics around the home. An allergic reaction to the droppings of the mite may make asthma symptoms worse.


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Pollen and Mould
Pollen grains and spores from moulds and fungi are common allergens. The hayfever season is a common time for asthma.


For some people with asthma, breathing in the allergens found in the hair and skin cells from animals may make asthma symptoms worse.


Occupational asthma
Some people only develop asthma when exposed to specific substances at work, for example, flour or wood dust. If you have concerns about your exposure to substances that may cause occupational asthma, please speak to your doctors and employer.


Colds and flu
Colds, coughs and chest infections all have the potential to trigger asthma symptoms. The body’s response to viral or bacterial infections can cause asthma to get out of control. 


Exercise-induced asthma
Some people with asthma find that exercise triggers their symptoms. However, if your asthma is well controlled you should be able to join in, have fun and keep fit. If your symptoms get worse during or after exercise, visit your doctors or asthma nurse for an asthma review.


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Smoking and cigarette fumes
Smoke irritates the lining of the lungs and is a trigger for many people with asthma. If you smoke and have asthma, you should make every effort to stop smoking.
We can offer you the advice and support you need to stop smoking, please ask a member of the team for more information.


Stress, emotional upset, or laughter may trigger asthma symptoms. Monitoring your asthma and taking your asthma medicines regularly should help to minimise symptoms.


Women may find that their symptoms can be affected around puberty, before their periods, during pregnancy and during menopause. If your asthma gets worse around these times, speak to your doctor or asthma nurse so that you can discuss any changes to your medicines that may help.


Some people with asthma are sensitive to aspirin, which can trigger symptoms. Other medicines that may cause asthma symptoms include anti-inflammatory painkillers (e.g. ibuprofen), or beta-blockers used to treat heart disease and glaucoma (e.g. propranolol, atenolol, or timolol). We can offer you advice and support to ensure that your medicines are managed correctly.