A man looks around himself suspiciously, he is wearing a face mask and holding an inhaler and nebulizer. He's standing in a protective bubble but all around it are various dusts and pollens.

Unusual Asthma Triggers

There are quite a few articles about unusual asthma symptoms, such as an itchy chin and neck. So I thought it would be neat to delve into the topic of unusual asthma triggers. Here is a list of things you might not consider to be your typical asthma triggers. The first 2 on this list are my own triggers.

Some unusual asthma triggers


Yep. Just putting together your typical puzzle triggers my asthma. Can you imagine that? The first time it happened I was putting together a 1000-piece puzzle. The puzzle was purchased at Goodwill. So, my theory of why it triggered my asthma was that it was infested with dust mites. This makes sense because dust mites are known to hang out on paper products that were once touched by humans. They feast on dead cells that land on the puzzle pieces. And when I dumped the puzzle out and moved the pieces around, dust mites got into the air and were easily inhaled.

This theory actually makes sense. So, the next time I did a puzzle I bought a brand-new one that was wrapped in plastic. There’s no way there could be dust mites inside. Yet, as I started putting the puzzle together, my chest still got tight. So, what explains this phenomenon? My theory is that, as the puzzle pieces are cut by a machine, microscopic wood pieces are left inside the box. And as I move the pieces around, these were inhaled and triggered my asthma.

Either way, puzzles are one of my asthma triggers. In my experience, they usually only cause mild chest tightness and shortness of breath. These symptoms gradually increase the longer I’m working on the puzzle. So, rather than not doing puzzles, I limit myself to a half hour at a time and then take a break for a while.

Baseball cards

Another hobby of mine is collecting old baseball cards. I like to purchase collections of cards and sift through them looking for star rookie cards. New cards have never bothered me. Yet older cards do. And it is for this reason that I think they must be infested with dust mites.

I have come up with a few tricks to get around my baseball card allergy. One is to have a friend of mine go through the boxes. And when I find cards that I want to keep, I put them in baseball card sleeves and top loaders. Either this or I put the cards in plastic sleeves and put them in baseball card binding books.

Indoor water parks

My children love when I take them to water parks, such as Great Wolf Lodge. Even I have a fun time when we do this activity. Although, after a while, my chest gets tight and my head feels stuffy. And the longer I stay inside one of these parks the worse my symptoms get. And this sometimes triggers full-fledged asthma flare-ups. I have learned the best strategy around my water park allergy is to limit myself to a few hours in the park at a time. And to never go to such parks more than one day at a time.


This is not something that triggers my asthma. However, thunderstorms are listed as a potential asthma trigger. A theory here is that, as it rains down really hard, the rain knocks loose pollen and stirs it up into the air. So, when you inhale, you are inhaling this potential allergen. If you have a pollen allergy, this may trigger your asthma symptoms. Has anyone experienced this as an asthma trigger?

Ice cream

I have noticed more than just a few people in this community express that ice cream, or other similar frozen foods, trigger their asthma. I’m not really sure of the pathology here. Although, perhaps it is similar to how cold air might trigger asthma. You inhale cold and dry air and it irritates your airways, stimulating mast cells. And these release chemicals that cause airway inflammation and trigger asthma symptoms. I’m just guessing here. But, this may help explain this unusual asthma trigger. If ice cream is a trigger of yours, how do you manage it? Do you simply avoid ice cream? Or do you continue to enjoy it and deal with the symptoms that may result from it?

Share your experiences with unusual asthma triggers

Do you experience any unusual asthma triggers? If so, I’m curious to hear about them: Please share your unusual trigger story in the comments below.

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