6 Hidden Allergy and Asthma Triggers

For allergy sufferers, attacks can come on suddenly—and seemingly from out of nowhere. But experts are quick to point out that there are a host of hidden allergy triggers that may be causing your wheezing, sneezing, or other symptoms.

According to the American Lung Association (ALA), allergy triggers can be hiding inside or outdoors. What follows are some of the most common triggers, as well as recommendations for combating them. In all cases, you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms so you can find the best treatment.

1. Cold Air

Strange as it may sound, it is possible to be allergic to the cold. In some people, cold temperatures and/or cold water can trigger histamines, causing itchy skin, redness, and hives. If you are allergic, try to avoid exposure to the cold as much as possible.

2. Tobacco or Wood Smoke

Not surprisingly, smoke is a major allergen, and people with allergies or asthma should never allow others to smoke tobacco products around them. In addition, they should avoid wood stoves and fireplaces, as wood smoke can also be a trigger.

3. Perfume

That mesmerizing scent may be hard to resist, but for many people, perfume triggers allergic reactions, from hives and headaches to allergy attacks. Try to stick with beauty products that are fragrance-free, and if you must wear perfume, be sure to find one that doesn't trigger your symptoms.

4. Chemicals

Fumes from paint, cleaning products, and hair spray can all produce allergic reactions. The best course of action: Avoid these products completely, or use them only at the lowest levels. There are many products on the market—low VOC paints, natural cleaners—that you may find tolerable.

5. Animal Dander

Pet allergens can lurk virtually anywhere—even in dust that collects throughout the house when a pet is no longer in the home. Since almost all pets can trigger allergic reactions, people with pet allergies (an estimated 10 percent of the population) shouldn't keep them. If you can't bear to part with Fido, be sure to keep him out of your bedroom, and consider investing in a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) filter.

6. Dust Mites

Tiny spiders typically found in house dust, dust mites are a major trigger for asthma and allergy sufferers. Fortunately, using an allergy control solution can kill the dust mite allergen. Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacists about which cleaners to buy.