A parents guide to asthma

4) Triggers for asthma

Allergic asthma usually starts in childhood
Your child may be offered some allergy testing to look for some of the common allergens that can make asthma symptoms worse. This is usually done in hospital by a simple skin test but can also be done by taking a small amount of blood. These are some of the things your child may be allergic to:

  • Pollen.
  • Animal dander (animal fur and saliva).
  • Dustmites.

A small sample of pollen or other allergen is placed on the skin. If the skin test is positive it will show as swelling and redness on the skin surface due to the production of antibodies. This is known as an Atopic reaction.

Non-allergic asthma
In this type of asthma there is no reaction to a skin test as there is no allergic reaction. The asthma symptoms are triggered by an irritant such as smoke or some cleaning products or by exercise or emotional extremes such as laughing or stress. Weather conditions can also be a trigger.

Whichever your type of asthma, most people can live a normal life if they have the right treatment and medication as prescribed by your doctor, asthma nurse or nurse specialist. Get to know your child’s asthma symptoms and any triggers which make those symptoms worse. Then you can treat the problem early to get the best results. The majority of people with asthma can be symptom free and live a normal life. If your child’s asthma is more difficult to control the child may be referred to respiratory specialists who can help.