An asthma allergen is a usually harmless substance which starts an immune response in the airway and lung. The body produces histamine which makes the airway and lungs become inflamed and swollen.
The most common asthma allergens are:
- Animal allergens: allergens found in their saliva, flakes of skin, fur and urine, particularly from cat and dog, are potent triggers of asthma symptoms. Also found in bedding from small animals. it is almost impossible to remove all pet allergens from your home. Even after a pet has been removed their dander can still be present for up to 6 months. However you may be able to reduce the levels of allergen by regular damp dusting surfaces in your home. Use a damp micro fibre cloth to brush over the cat or dogs fur every day. Wash your hands after handling your pet and do not let your pet sleep on your bed or sit on your furniture.
- House Dust Mite: Many people are sensitive to the droppings of house-dust mites. They live in the dust that builds up around the house, particularly in carpets, bedding, soft furnishings and soft toys. It is very difficult to remove all dust mites at home and often products are expensive.
- Pollen: 79% of people with asthma find pollen can trigger their asthma. There are many different types of pollen and this typically is a seasonal form of asthma which is worse when each kind of pollen is in the air. Plan ahead when the weather is bad. Keep a track of weather report and pollen levels.
There are a number of smart phone apps to track pollen and weather in your area.
- Contact Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) advice line. If you have a mobile phone you can sign up to our free Air Quality and Weather Text Alert Service. To find out more please call the Advice Line Nurses freephone 0808 801 0899.
- You can get daily information from the Met Office – air quality and Met Office – pollen count.
There are other allergens which can cause asthma.