Allergies and Asthma: What You Should Know About This Common Health Condition
Have you ever heard of allergy-induced asthma? If not, you aren’t alone. Many people associate allergies with their typical symptoms, including sneezing, itchiness, and watery eyes. For people with particularly severe allergies, however, allergy-induced asthma is a common health issue.
This health condition is prominent throughout the United States. Medical experts estimate that up to 25 million Americans have asthma and about 60% of those people suffer from allergy-induced asthma. This makes it the most prevalent form of asthma in the country, especially among those who suffer from seasonal allergies like hay fever.
But what does allergy-induced asthma look like? Keep reading to learn more about this prevalent health condition.
What is allergy-induced asthma?
When a person suffers from allergy-induced asthma, they will experience the classic symptoms associated with regular asthma: namely, wheezing and shortness of breath. For those suffering from allergies, an itchy or scratchy throat may also be a top symptom of the condition. In other cases, coughing and chest tightness are also top signs that you have allergy-induced asthma.
Allergy-induced asthma occurs when allergens in the air trigger asthma-like symptoms. For people who are allergic to pollen, simply inhaling these spores on a crisp fall day can result in wheezing. Others can be set off by dog dander, dust mites, or even ingredients in your favorite perfumes.
This allergic reaction occurs because your immune system thinks that these allergens are harmful to your body. As a result, it sends immunoglobulins to counter the “invaders.” Asthma-like conditions occur when too many immunoglobulins are released and histamine levels spike; this results in inflammation of the lungs and surrounding tissues which can cause wheezing. Many people with severe allergies will also develop high levels of mucus to keep these allergens out of your system. Unfortunately, this can make breathing troubles even worse.
How is allergy-induced asthma treated?
Like most allergens, taking an antihistamine is often enough to deter symptoms. Many people take an allergy pill in the morning to prevent these symptoms from happening in the first place. Rather than taking the pill after an allergic response occurs, preemptively taking these pills can bolster your immune system from overreacting to triggers from the start.
A doctor or urgent care center can help you determine if your allergy symptoms necessitate further treatment. Some might supply you with an inhaler to mitigate the worst of your asthma symptoms while others will refer you to a specialist for more information. Most inhalers for asthma are filled with a steroid designed to ease inflammation and tightness in the chest. But for allergy-induced asthma, these inhalers can look a little different.
Many physicians recommend a dry powder inhaler for those who want to avoid steroids. Most steroidal inhalers rely on a propellant to shoot the steroid into your lungs. This can make it easier for patients with particularly severe allergies. With a dry powder inhaler, the patient takes a fast, deep breath to inhale the medication. It’s also easy to determine when your inhaler is running low on medication. Choosing a metered-dose inhaler with a counter will help you determine how many doses you have left.
Regardless, it’s recommended that the asthma sufferer distances themselves from the allergen to feel better even faster.
What can I do to prevent allergy-induced asthma?
As mentioned earlier, there are a few ways to prevent allergy-induced asthma, including preemptive medication. In conjunction with your normal antihistamine, doctors have found that taking montelukast (the generic for Singulair) can ease symptoms for allergies and asthma. However, it will only work if you take it at the same time each day.
If you hate the thought of adding one more thing to your morning schedule, you can also opt for allergy shots. After you undergo an allergy test (most commonly a prick test) to determine your triggers, your allergist can prescribe a series of shots designed to weaken your immune response to these allergens. Allergy drops are another increasingly common option to consider.
For asthma-sufferers on a budget, the best thing you can do is avoid your allergy triggers to the best of your ability. Keeping your house clean is a good first step. Many people have found relief with the help of a HIPAA filter and a dehumidifier to lower the levels of allergens in their homes.
For those who have severe allergy symptoms, relying on a nebulizer can help deter these allergic reactions from the start. Better yet, many insurance providers will help bring down the cost of a nebulizer for those who need it. Keep in mind that these machines won’t help dust mites, so a good scrubbing and dusting is necessary once in a while.
Allergy-induced asthma can be frustrating but it’s manageable if you have the right tools. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local allergist or doctor for more information.
Information provided on the Aeroflow Healthcare blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow Healthcare recommends consulting a doctor if you are experiencing medical issues or concerns.
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