What Could Be Causing Your Lung Problem?

There are a number of reasons why you can develop lung problems, from developing asthma to dust and chemical irritants. In fact, airborne irritants can even cause asthma. Then there is the outdoor problems – toxic car fumes, secondhand smoke and toxins in the air can all lead to coughing and wheezing, particularly if you already have respiratory problems. There are some lesser known irritants though that can exacerbate your problems – here is a list of the less common triggers that could be affecting you from your everyday lifestyle.


There have been a number of reports over the years that fireworks can cause asthma attacks, with one particularly worrying incident in 2000 stating that a 9 year old girl with mild asthma suffered a severe attack and died, after playing with sparklers at a picnic on the Fourth of July. When lit, the ever-popular Roman Candles, bottle rockets and sparklers release a number of chemicals which include sulphur dioxide. This can make asthma worse when it’s inhales, particularly in concentrated amounts. And it can get worse if you attend large-scale firework displays, as the smoky fallout can contain barium aerosols, which it has been suggested can make asthma worse.

Air bags

Studies have shown that asthmatics who stay in their cars after a crash are likely to suffer attacks, as the aerosol compounds which are released into the cabin when the airbag inflates act as an irritant.


Love to bake? It could be causing your lung troubles! When inhaled in large quantities, flour dust can irritate the lungs so much that there is actually a term for it – baker’s asthma. This is actually one of the most common forms of work-related asthma, and there are many professional bakers who have been known to develop asthma due to an allergy to wheat flour.

Gas appliances

The byproduct of gas appliances, nitrogen dioxide, has been connected to asthma symptoms in children, according to a 2008 study. Researchers found that children who lived in homes with higher levels of NO2 were more likely to cough, wheeze and suffer from tight chests. Even with just small amounts emitted from stoves, fireplaces and heaters, this byproduct can aggravate asthma.


If you love to burn candles of an evening in your home, you’re probably blissfully unaware of the effects that it has on your respiratory system. A study carried out at the South Carolina State University found that paraffin-based candles, which are the most popular form, emit in toluene and benzene. However, beeswax and soybean candles don’t emit these chemicals. You won’t be at risk if you decide to light the odd candle during a romantic meal or while you’re having a bath, but if you don’t ventilate the area you may find that your asthma symptoms worsen.


A lesser known trigger, laser printers and photocopiers actually emit ultrafine particles which make your symptoms worse. In 2009, an account from a 62 year old woman who began coughing and wheezing at work was published. Her job was selling lottery tickets in a small kiosk, and it was found that the ink used in the ticket printer was making her ill. Once she stopped working in the kiosk, her symptoms gradually disappeared. If you work in an admin job where you are dealing with printers and copiers a lot, you may find that your asthma symptoms are worse during the times when you’re dealing with this equipment.

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