Allergy symptoms can make you uncomfortable. Having allergies can also lead to difficulty breathing and an asthma attack. Allergies and asthma are connected. Your allergist can tell you more about the allergy–asthma connection.
An allergic reaction happens when you are exposed to an allergen, which is a substance you are allergic to. Some common allergens include:
- Grasses and trees
- Plants and flowers
- Pet dander
- Mold and dust
- Peanuts, dairy, and seafood
When you are exposed to an allergen, you may experience a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy and watery eyes, or a scratchy throat. You may also experience narrowing of your airways, causing breathing difficulties and an asthma attack.
If you have allergy-induced asthma, the first step is allergy testing to find out what you are allergic to. Allergy testing can help you avoid what triggers your asthma. Allergy testing typically includes skin tests and possibly blood tests. Your allergist can diagnose asthma using spirometry and other tests to determine your level of lung function.
After your allergies have been identified and you have been tested for asthma, your allergist will develop a comprehensive action plan to help manage your allergies and asthma. It’s not always possible to avoid allergens, so your allergist can provide allergy and asthma medications too, which may include:
- Allergy injections
- Sublingual immunotherapy
- Topical or oral antihistamines
- Prescription-strength decongestants
- Short-acting rescue inhalers for acute symptoms
- Long-term medications for ongoing asthma management
You should also do some modifications to your environment, including:
- Vacuuming and dusting frequently
- Using hypoallergenic sheets and linens
- Washing linens frequently
- Keeping pets off of furniture and out of your bedroom
- Installing an allergy filter in your house
- Keeping doors and windows closed when pollen counts are high
Allergies and asthma are closely tied together. Fortunately, your allergist is an expert at both. To find out more about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of allergies and asthma, talk with your allergist today.