There is always that one trigger…

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been dealing with lots of triggers. I am generally excellent at minimizing exposure to triggers but, sometimes you just have to make the best of what you encounter. I love that my asthma is mostly controlled and my symptoms have been mostly manageable. However, sometimes you get a reminder that symptoms can last much longer than the original exposure to the trigger.

My triggers are fairly common smoke, humid air, cold air, some scents, the usual. At times, I have forgotten that there are also some situations or emotional stress that can bring on asthma symptoms. A few weeks ago I received some sad news from a family member that unleashed a strong emotional reaction and yes, an increase in asthma symptoms. I was sort of caught off guard, but I knew I was in control of the situation. I needed to be calm, relax and slow my breathing and support it with a rescue inhaler. It was a reminder that not just environmental triggers can evoke asthma symptoms. The key is to be prepared and know you can do it to manage your symptoms.

I was recently on a busy urban street, waiting for a streetcar when I was suddenly overcome by triggers. A hot humid day, people smoking everywhere. Why are people still smoking, did it suddenly become cool? I wanted to run for cover but honestly there wasn’t anywhere to run to. Instead, I tried to breath through the sleeve of my sweater, to at least minimize the exposure, when that failed. I had to grabbed a taxi to my destination, instead of staying in my smoky and humid environments. The best options for me at that time, were to get away from my triggers and change my environment. It was frustrating but it was much better than the symptoms that were sure to follow. I grabbed my rescue inhaler, had my usual rescue dose and hoped for the best. My response to Ventolin is pretty faithful and luckily I started to improve. I did have symptoms for the majority of the day, but I did bounce back.

This learning lesson from my trigger exposure works. I need to plan ahead to reduce trigger exposure. Work duties and responsibilities can sometimes alter our ability to fully get away from our triggers. I should have decided to grab a taxi sooner and not even risk the exposure at the smoke infested streetcar stop. I may need to avoid certain some areas of town, that are more prone to environment al and society exposure like cigarette smoke and higher pollution levels. Clearly, I am still working on checking the air quality index, and heat advisories to reschedule certain events for cooler days.

As some of the great community members have mentioned; there is frustration involved in having to cancel plans or adjust plans to different days. I was thinking of ways to educate people that cigarette smoke is not only bad for them, but also really bad for my lungs. There was a comical moment were I kept trying to avoid a smoker, who seemed to be following me. I finally realized that they were also trying to look down a traffic jammed street to see if the streetcar was coming.

I will continue to advocate for better awareness, that there are those are greatly effected by triggers and need people to not smoke in non smoking areas.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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