• Tackling Asthma and Seasonal Allergies

    on Jan 15th, 2018


Asthma and allergies can cause sufferers to avoid situations that can potentially trigger unpleasant or even dangerous reactions and also create a lot of stress for individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 12 Americans suffer from asthma ,while 1 in 5 suffer from allergies, but fortunately, there are many ways to combat the negative effects of these conditions, which often go hand in hand. Medical professionals continue to research different treatments and ways to keep asthma and allergies in check so that if you are diagnosed with these illnesses, you do not have to live in fear of having an attack.

What Causes Allergies and Asthma?

Asthma is a disease that directly affects your lungs. The pathways to your lungs, known as airways, will swell and become inflamed, which causes extra mucus to form. The constriction of your airways along with this extra mucus will make it very difficult to breathe and can also cause a lot of coughing and chest pain. There are three different types of asthma: exercise-induced, occupational asthma, and allergy-induced.

An allergy is your body’s negative reaction to a medication, food, or a substance that enters your body. Your immune system will respond to one of these allergens unpleasantly and can cause you to have a wide variety of symptoms depending on the severity or type of allergy. These symptoms can range from hives, congestion, itchy/runny nose, rashes, to more serious side effects such as wheezing, swollen tongue, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and even anaphylaxis. The most common allergens are animal dander, medications, mold, pollen, foods (such as peanuts or shellfish) and insect bites or stings. Reactions to these allergens can also trigger your asthma to flare up, resulting in even more discomfort and problems. 

Avoiding Asthma and Allergies

Recognizing the symptoms of an allergy or asthma attack and treating it appropriately and swiftly is extremely important. The best way to be proactive in this situation and treat allergies and asthma at their source is to understand which allergens are a trigger for you and to keep away from those as often as possible. If you have allergies to pollen or weeds, keep windows closed during peak pollen counts and try to avoid going outside if you don’t have to. If animal dander or dust triggers you, try to avoid houses with pets and vacuum often to help minimize dust or dander. If food or medication is the cause of your problems, make sure you check the ingredients in every item you eat or drink to steer clear of accidentally consuming something harmful.

If you are unaware of exactly what is causing your problems, try keeping a journal to track what you are eating and what substances you are around daily. Detail when your symptoms are at their worst and try to look for any patterns or similar substances that you are coming into contact with and share all of this information with your doctor. We may want to run blood tests or skin tests to determine what specifically it is that you are allergic to, as well as to do a complete medical exam and history.


How to Treat Seasonal Allergies and Asthma

There are several different options for treating your allergies and asthma so that the symptoms do not get out of control. There are multiple over-the-counter medications that can really help with some of the irritating side effects. Antihistamines can be found as pills, liquids and nose sprays and can be used to combat sneezing, watery eyes , itching, hives, or swelling. Decongestants can help to shrink membranes that are swollen in your nose and reduce mucus production. Corticosteroid ointments can help with relieving the pain and itch associated with rashes. Prescriptions medication can also be ordered if over-the-counter medication is not helping, or for more serious reactions such as anaphylaxis. In this case, epinephrine would be prescribed and recommended to be used immediately for the most effective results. 

In addition to medication, many patients have seen tremendous benefit from immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a series of shots that works by exposing your immune system to an allergen in small doses over a period of time. The ultimate goal is to have your body build up a tolerance to the allergen so that you no longer react to it with the typical symptoms. You may receive several shots in the beginning, but over time the number of shots will continue to decrease. 

Conclusion

Allergies and asthma can be disruptive and bothersome, and at times, they can even be quite scary. Even so, these conditions don’t have to drag you down or stop you from enjoying your day-to-day life. With the right level of understanding about your allergies and asthma, you can avoid triggers and address the problem. From medications to treatment like immunotherapy, there is no shortage of options that can help you keep your allergy and asthma symptoms at bay. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and one of our medical professionals can help guide you through the process and come up with a plan to live a more healthy and normal life.


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