Skip to content

This information was reviewed and approved by Ronina A. Covar, MD (6/1/2017).

Many substances can irritate the nose, throat or airways. Common irritants include smoke, such as tobacco smoke, smoke from wood-burning or kerosene stoves and fireplaces, aerosol sprays, strong odors, dust and air pollution.

Cigarette smoke is one of the most common irritants and is a strong cause of asthma symptoms.


Actions You Can Take against Asthma and Irritants

  • Avoid aerosol sprays, perfumes, strong cleaning products and other odor sources in the home. Clean when your child is not home when possible.

  • It is important that no one smokes in the home or car with a child who has asthma.

  • Avoid smoke exposure in the child’s school or day care setting.

  • If you smoke, try to give up smoking. Ask the doctor about techniques that are helpful. Every state offers free telephone counseling through the QuitLine. The QuitLine number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1.800.784.8559.

  • Always look for nonsmoking sections in public areas.

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.