Asthma & Allergies

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Asthma and allergies are two different medical conditions, but they often are related. The same substances can trigger both, causing shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing. When asthma and allergies go together, doctors call the condition “allergic asthma” or “allergy-induced asthma,” according to MayoClinic.com.


Triggers

Common triggers for allergy-induced asthma are dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold, cigarette smoke, air pollution, certain foods and cockroaches. Avoiding the allergens will not prevent you or your child from developing allergic asthma if you or your child is predisposed to the condition. But, you still should control any triggers to reduce or prevent flare-ups. Anyone can get allergic asthma, but it tends to run in families, according to WebMD.

Allergies and Asthma

Allergies by themselves occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies a harmless substance as being dangerous. Your immune system tries to fight this harmless invader by releasing chemicals that lead to nasal congestion, itchy eyes, runny nose or skin reactions. Some people’s lungs react to the chemicals, which leads to asthma symptoms.

Treatment

Typically, you treat allergies and asthma separately. But, some treatments cover both. Singulair treats both allergies and asthma, according to MayoClinic.com. Singulair is a leukotriene modifier that controls the chemicals the immune system releases. It comes in pill form. The rare but serious side effect of Singulair is for the patient to experience a psychological reaction, such as suicidal thoughts. If that happens, call your doctor immediately.

Allergy Shots

Allergy shots, by gradually reducing the patient’s immune system’s response to triggers, can also treat allergies and asthma. With an allergy shot, you get regular injections of a tiny amount of the substance that triggers symptoms. You develop a tolerance over time, decreasing allergic and asthmatic episodes.

Diagnosis

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology suggests you go to an allergist if you or your child demonstrates symptoms of allergic asthma. The doctor can perform tests to diagnose the condition. This group offers a tool on their website called “The Virtual Allergist,” designed to give you information about getting help and treating symptoms. There is no cure for asthma, but you can treat and control it.

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