Allergies and Asthma – Treating Both Together
Allergies and asthma are inextricably linked for many people, and the connection can make it more challenging to treat and prevent a flare up of symptoms. While allergies and asthma may seem like separate conditions, they actually present together in patients quite frequently because both conditions have many of the same triggers. These triggers, such as pollen, animal dander, etc. can result in symptoms of both conditions at the same time.
Can an Allergic Reaction Cause an Asthma Attack?
An allergic reaction usually occurs because the body senses that a foreign substance (normally a harmless substance like pollen or animal dander) is an invader and attempts to remove that allergen from the body – activating white blood cell production. The natural protective mechanism causes symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes; runny nose and congestion. These symptoms can also affect the airways, which may trigger an asthma attack.
Asthma symptoms normally present with tightness in the chest, wheezing, and frequent coughing, but you may experience other symptoms as well such as swelling of the throat. Mild asthma attacks are more common and easier to manage than severe asthma attacks, which may require medical intervention to treat.
Treatment Options for Both Allergies and Asthma
While most treatments are designed to target either allergies or asthma, there are a few medications on the market that may reduce the symptoms associated with both simultaneously. According to the Mayo Clinic, Leukotriene modifier, allergy shots (immunotherapy), and anti-immunoglobulin E therapy may treat both allergies and asthma together. Your physician may still need to prescribe more than one medication to treat allergies and asthma depending on the severity of symptoms and your medical history.
Managing Your Symptoms
If you routinely experience symptoms of allergies or asthma, identify what triggers your reactions and limit your exposure to them as often as possible. Learn to assess the early signs of an allergy or asthma attack so that you will know when to take your medication and follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. If you have just recently begun to experience allergy and asthma symptoms together, consult a physician to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Are You at Risk for Allergic Asthma?
If your family has a history of allergies, you are at risk for contracting allergic asthma. Conditions like hay fever or other allergic reactions also increase your risk of contracting allergic asthma. Consult your physician if you notice any signs or symptoms that trouble you.