It's springtime again and maybe you find yourself sniffling, wheezing, and coughing more than usual. Is it allergies? Is it asthma? Could it be both?
Allergies are caused by a variety of sources, such as pollen, pet dander, or dust. These are specific to each person, and some people are lucky enough to not have any allergies. However, if you're among the 19.2 million American adults diagnosed with hay fever in 2018, you know the symptoms can be annoying or even frightening.
Asthma is a chronic lung condition that restricts the airways in the lungs. Sometimes people experience asthma because of their allergies, and that leads to terms like allergy-induced asthma, or more simply, allergic asthma. Almost 25 million Americans lived with asthma in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Allergy symptoms include runny nose, itchy eyes, skin reaction, and nasal congestion. Meanwhile, asthma symptoms consist of chest tightness, wheezing, breathlessness, and coughing.
The connection between allergies and asthma happens when allergies cause the immune system to overreact to a foreign substance. The chemical response within the body leads to allergy symptoms and sometimes asthma symptoms.
The allergic variety of asthma affects about 60% of people. If you already have asthma, allergies can worsen that condition. Other types of asthma can be triggered by exercise, infections, drugs, stress, or cold air. Many people's asthma has multiple causes.
Treating allergies or asthma can be done separately or with both conditions in mind.
- Inhalers target asthma symptoms when they happen, opening your airways and allowing you to breathe normally.
- A leukotriene modifier is a daily medication that targets chemicals released by the immune system during an allergic response. Antihistamine medicines are sometimes used alone for allergy symptoms or in conjunction with leukotriene modifiers to ease both asthma and allergy symptoms.
- Anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) therapy focuses on antibodies that protect the body from harmful intruders. IgE medication confuses the antibodies, so they don't cause the body to release histamines in response to allergens.
Work with your doctor to identify any allergies you may have. Knowing the source of the allergic response will help you get ahead of your body, avoid triggers, and find a medication that stops your symptoms.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. If you have any concerns, please speak with your doctor.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we'll bring you information about the "Cause of the Month," including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.