Font Size

Asthma in Teens and Adults (cont.)


Although there is no certain way to prevent asthma, you can reduce airway inflammationClick here to see an illustration. and your risk of asthma attacks.

The goal is to reduce the number, length, and severity of asthma attacks. Start by avoiding your asthma triggers. Also be sure to:

  • Get a flu vaccine every year. Have your family members get one too.
  • Get the pneumococcal vaccine. The vaccine may not prevent pneumonia, but it can prevent some of the serious complications of pneumonia.
  • Avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or other similar medicines if they increase your asthma symptoms. Think about using acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead. (Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome, a rare but serious problem.) Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Be alert to foods that may cause asthma symptoms. Some people have symptoms after eating processed potatoes, shrimp, nuts, and dried fruit, or after drinking beer or wine. These foods and liquids contain sulfites, which may cause asthma symptoms.
Click here to view an Actionset.Asthma: Identifying Your Triggers

Irritants in the air

Common irritants in the air, such as tobacco smoke and air pollution, can trigger asthma attacks in some people. They include:

  • Some household cleaning products. If a cleaning product seems to trigger your asthma, stop using it. Or use another product that doesn't cause symptoms.
  • Air pollution. Consider staying inside when air pollution levels are high. Avoid indoor irritants in the air (such as fumes from gas, oil, or kerosene or wood-burning stoves). Or you may want to use an air filtration unit in your house to reduce the amount of dust and other pollutants.
  • Tobacco smoke. If you have asthma, try to avoid being around others who are smoking, and ask people not to smoke in your house. This helps children, too, since exposing young children to secondhand tobacco smoke makes them more likely to get asthma.


Exercise is an asthma trigger for some people. If you often have asthma attacks when you exercise, use your inhaler 10 to 30 minutes before you start the activity so you can avoid an attack.

Avoid exercising outdoors in cold weather. If you are outdoors in cold weather, wear a scarf around your face and breathe through your nose.

Next Page:

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Medical Dictionary