SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Dr. Laura Waters, a pediatrician at Mercy Hospital joined KOLR10’s Daybreak to talk about Asthma Awareness Month. Dr. Waters shared some common asthma triggers and what to do about them.

There are nine common asthma triggers.

  • Viral infections
  • Tobacco smoke and other pollutants
  • Indoor allergens
  • Outdoor allergens
  • Furry animals
  • Cold air and changing weather
  • Exercise
  • Insects
  • Stress

Dr. Waters said for children the three most serious or common triggers are viruses, allergies, and air pollutants. In the Ozarks allergies are especially a concern and for many parents, getting allergies under control is the best way to help a child lessen asthma symptoms.

Dr. Waters recommended parents talk with their child’s doctor about medications to control allergies and to help decide whether over-the-counter or prescription medications are best.

Another action parents can take is to ask their children to shower or at least wash their hands and face after playing outside. Saline rinses for the nose can also help wash out pollen after time outdoors.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department posts daily pollen counts on its website as well to keep anyone informed about when allergens are high in the area.

When it comes to animal allergies, Dr. Waters said it’s best not to keep animals children are allergic to in the house, and at the very least the animal should not be allowed in the child’s bedroom if they are allergic. Medications can help if the child is going to a friend or family member’s house where there will be furry pets.

“We want children with asthma to be able to do everything else that any other child can do,” Dr. Waters said when asked about exercise. “There are Olympic athletes with asthma and that’s what I like to remind my patients.”

She said if a child’s asthma is not controlled in a way where they can exercise or play outside, parents should talk with their doctor.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a list of information and resources for Asthma Awareness month on its website.