Stuff in the air, also called irritants, are different from allergens because they bother people who do not have allergies or asthma, too. For most people, irritants are not a serious problem, but for people with asthma, they can lead to flare-ups. Common irritants include perfumes and aerosol sprays, such as hair spray and cleaners. Other irritants include wood and tobacco smoke, the smell given off by paint or gas, and air pollution.
If you notice that an irritant triggers your asthma, let an adult know, so he or she can keep it away from you. This might mean switching to different hair sprays or cleaning products. If smoke bothers you, it is probably a good idea to avoid fires in the fireplace or woodstove. And of course, no one should smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products around you.
If outdoor air pollution is a problem, running the air conditioner or an air cleaner can help. Having an adult check air quality reports on the news might also be a good idea. On days when the quality is especially bad, you might want to stay indoors.
Colds and the flu are harder to avoid, but you can cut down on the number of sicknesses you catch by washing your hands regularly and staying away from people who are sick. Getting a flu shot each year is a good idea, too.