5 Common Asthma Triggers
Asthma and allergy triggers lead to serious breathing problems. Here's how to beat them.
by Laura Flynn McCarthy
More than half of current asthma cases are due to allergies, and of those, about one third are caused by cat allergies (sorry, Fluff!). Pollen, ragweed, mold, dust mites, and grasses are the other biggies.
The work-around: It's all about limiting exposure. "Our son, Thomas, started coughing all the time after we moved into a new home," says Eleanor Garrow-Majka of Fairfax, VA, mom of the 6-year-old and a project manager for the Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (check out the site at aanma.org). "We found out that the family who lived there prior to us had a cat. We removed the carpet, washed the floors, washed and repainted the walls, and had the heating and air-conditioning vents cleaned. We change his air filter monthly. Except for really bad pollen days, Thomas hasn't been sick since." But if your child's allergies can't be controlled by removing the allergens, consider allergy shots. The therapy requires commitment and a lot of sticks (one or two shots a week to start), but it can keep many kids nearly asthma-symptom -- free.