Asthma attacks: 6 hidden triggers

Published: Oct. 23, 2015 at 12:06 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 23, 2015 at 12:47 PM EDT
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ST. LOUIS (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) - The CDC reports one in 12 people have asthma. Of those, half have had an asthma attack in the last year that could have been prevented. But knowing the hidden triggers could save you a trip to the ER…or even end up saving your life.

You can blame weeds, trees and grass if you are coughing and wheezing...but not all asthma attacks are set off by the usual suspects.

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis pulmonologist Mario Castro, M.D., says,  "Some of my patients can hardly leave their house just because they're so fearful of encountering someone who is smoking a cigarette, or somebody that has perfume on."

In fact, Dr. Castro says most of his patients' asthma attacks are triggered by allergies they don't even know they have.

Asthma sufferer Roxanne McWilliams says "When you get to that point where you can't get in enough air you can't do anything."

Here are six hidden triggers that could set off allergies that trigger an asthma attack. Number one…sunscreen!  Specifically avoid those with benzophenone, octocrylene and PABA…all of which can set off an allergy attack.

Also trash the plastic water bottles made out of BPA. A study in the journal of allergy and clinical immunology found that kids exposed to BPA after birth were more likely to develop asthma.

Another trigger is antibacterial soap. That's because it contains triclosan which is a synthetic pesticide. The good news, washing with ordinary soap is just as effective.

Your attacks can even be set off by the foods you eat.

Limonene, a compound found in lime and other citrus foods can set off allergies that then can damage your lungs.

And spices can also be trouble. Most come from pungent plants and can cause itching and swelling. Avoid coriander, poppy seeds, pepper, dill, paprika, cumin and saffron.

And another trigger is wall paint. Oil-based paints are a particular problem because they can continue releasing chemicals even after they dry. If possible, use latex paint which emits less gas than oil-based kinds. To find paints which release less gas and compounds look for a green seal certification mark on the label.

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