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7 Surprising Triggers of Lung Trouble

Common pollutants, such as traffic exhaust and secondhand smoke, are well-known causes of lung problems, including asthma. But there are a number of other irritants—some of them found in your own home or car—that can also trigger asthma symptoms.

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Gas appliances

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a byproduct released by gas appliances, has been linked to asthma symptoms in children.

A 2008 study followed 150 asthmatic children in Baltimore over a six-month period; it found that children who lived in homes with higher levels of NO2 had more frequent wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. (Most studies in adults have failed to find a similar effect.)

NO2 can aggravate asthma even in the relatively small amounts generated by gas stoves, heaters, and fireplaces. Properly venting appliances can help avoid unsafe NO2 levels, experts say.

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