Understanding Allergies and Asthma
How do I avoid allergies?
Obviously, you aren't expected to live your life in a bubble, but there are things that can be done to minimize your exposure to specific allergens.
For example, if you are allergic to dust, you can dust-proof your bedroom by using allergy-proof mattress and pillow covers. If you are allergic to pollen and/or grass, it is beneficial to keep your windows closed and to shower immediately following outdoor activities.
There are many ways to cut down on the allergens in your environment. Talk to your allergist about any information that
they can provide on allergy avoidance. Visit our avoidance page for tips on allergy avoidance in the home.
What are some of the symptoms of allergies?
There are some symptoms that are commonly associated with allergies such as:
- Runny nose
- Post nasal drip
- Watery, red, itchy, swollen eyes
- Ear congestion or frequent ear infections
- Frequent sinus infections
Less common allergy symptoms include:
- Loss of taste and smell
- Low productivity/Poor concentration
- Sleep disturbances
Allergy symptoms can be more than bothersome or irritating. They can interfere with your day-to-day activities and sleep. Allergies can result in loss of productivity, missed work or school and an overall poor quality of life.
Seeking the help of an allergist is the key to treating your allergies.
What is asthma?
What about children and asthma?
Asthma is the most common chronic illness among children. If a child's asthma is left untreated, it can result in loss of sleep, exercise limitations, absenteeism, emergency room visits and, in a few cases, death.
The good news?
Just like adult asthma, a child's asthma can be effectively treated with medications and “trigger” avoidance. Again, receiving medical help for asthma is essential.
An estimated 17 million people living in the United States have self-reported asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease marked by wheezing, chest tightness and/or shortness of breath.
Any of the symptoms below can be a sign of asthma:
- Excessive coughing while exercising or following exercise
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing while breathing
- A tight feeling in the chest
If you or someone you know experiences the above conditions, consult an allergist. Your allergist will be able to tell you the causes of your symptoms. If allergies are left untreated they can develop into asthma, so it’s important to see an allergist when you first start experiencing problems.
Asthma symptoms are caused by the constriction (tightening of the muscles) and the inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the airways. Constriction and inflammation of the airways and increased mucosa make it difficult and sometimes impossible to breathe.
What causes asthma?
Allergens, irritants, respiratory infections and/or exercise can trigger asthma symptoms. Asthma is often placed in different categories according to symptom “triggers.”
Allergic asthma is triggered by allergic reactions to allergens such as pet dander, dust or dust mite, mold or pollen.
Seasonal asthma is triggered by seasonal allergic reactions to allergens such as trees, grasses or weeds.
Non-allergic asthma is triggered by irritants in the air that you breathe such as tobacco smoke, wood smoke, room deodorizers, fresh paint, perfume, etc.
Exercise-induced asthma is triggered by exercise or physical activity.
Nocturnal asthma can occur in a patient with any type of asthma, though the asthma symptoms will increase or worsen at night.
For treatment, it is important to recognize asthma “triggers.” Airway inflammation may always be there, even when you are seemingly symptom-free.