Allergic asthma makes up 60% of all asthma cases. Specific substances, such as pollen or mold, bring on the symptoms of allergic asthma. These substances are called allergens. Other types of asthma are nonallergic and can be triggered by things such as tobacco smoke or exercise.
If you have allergic asthma, it’s key to learn how to avoid allergens, which are all around you in the environment.
Could your migraines signal uncontrolled asthma?
This is a familiar combination: a patient with both asthma and migraine. Each disease tends to run in families, but are the two conditions also linked? If so, once a person gains better control of asthma symptoms, might the excruciating headaches ease, too? Headache specialist Roger K. Cady, MD, believes so. “I would certainly say from my clinical practice that controlling either of those will help the other,” he says. Cady, founder of the Headache Care Center in Springfield,…
Read the Could Your Migraines Signal Uncontrolled Asthma? article.
What is an Allergy?
The job of your immune system is to protect you from germs such as bacteria and viruses. However, if someone has an allergy, the immune system is too cautious. It attacks harmless substances – such as cat dander – as though they were enemy invaders.
In a person with allergies, the body creates special cells called IgE antibodies when it encounters an allergen. These defensive cells trigger the body’s allergic reaction. They cause the release of natural chemicals such as histamine, which result in swelling. This leads to familiar allergy symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing. This signals that the body is trying to rid itself of the allergens.
In people with allergic asthma, the immune system also overreacts when it comes into contact with certain allergens. Because the airways are hypersensitive to these allergens, the muscles around airways begin to tighten. The airways themselves also become inflamed and flooded with mucus.
The symptoms of allergic asthma
The symptoms of allergic asthma are generally the same as those of nonallergic asthma. They include:
|Shortness of breath|
|Tightening of the chest|
What Are Common Allergens?
Inhaled allergens are among the most likely to worsen your allergic asthma. They include:
|Pollen from trees and grass, such as ragweed|
|Animal dander (from hair, skin, or feathers) and saliva|
People may also have allergic reactions if they touch or eat allergens. This type of exposure rarely causes asthma symptoms, although it can still cause a dangerous reaction, such as anaphylactic shock. This reaction can make it difficult to breathe and even cause death.
Keep in mind that allergens are not the only thing that can worsen your allergic asthma. Irritants may also trigger an asthma attack, even though they don’t cause an allergic reaction. Irritants include:
|Strong chemical odors|
|Perfumes or other scented products|
|Intense emotions that cause you to laugh or cry|
Your doctor might do allergy tests to figure out which allergens affect you. These tests usually involve pricking your skin with a tiny amount of the allergen or injecting it under your skin. Your doctor then checks your skin for a reaction. If a skin test isn’t possible, you might get a blood test instead.
Environmental Control of Allergic Asthma
A crucial part of controlling your allergic asthma is to limit your exposure to allergens in the environment. Here are some tips.
|When pollen counts are high, stay inside as much as possible. Keep the windows closed. If you have an air conditioner, use it to filter the air.|
|To keep dust mites out, wrap your pillows, mattress, and box spring in special allergen-proof covers. Wash your sheets once a week in hot water. Remove wall-to-wall carpeting, if possible. Get rid of items where dust can accumulate, such as on heavy curtains or piles of clothing. If your child has allergic asthma, only buy washable stuffed animals.|
|If moisture is a problem in your home, get a dehumidifier to reduce mold. Repair any plumbing leaks.|
|If you have pets, keep them out of the bedroom.|
|Keep your kitchen and bathroom very clean to avoid mold and cockroaches.|
|Be careful doing outside work. Gardening and raking can stir up pollen and mold.|
Treating the Flu in People with Health Risks
|Flu Slideshow: 10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu|
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|Take the Cold & Flu Quiz|
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Introducing Auvi Q – First and Only Talking Epinephrine Auto-injector
Auvi Q, a breakthrough in epinephrine auto-injector design for adults and children at risk for anaphylaxis, is now available for prescription.
Features of Auvi Q include:
|Voice instructions talk users step by step through the injection process|
|Compact size fits into a pocket or small purse|
|“Press-and-hold” injection method with a 5-second hold time|
|2 dosage strengths available: 0.15 mg for patients weighing 33 lb to 66 lb, and 0.3 mg for patients weighing over 66 lb|
The Auvi Q healthcare professional and patient sites have just launched with new Auvi Q information and resources. Visit the HCP Site.
For healthcare professionals: 1) Virtual Auvi Q to explore, 2) Downloadable Auvi Q training materials, 3) Severe allergy and anaphylaxis patient education tools
For patients and caregivers: 1) Auvi Q demonstration video, 2) Downloadable Auvi Q companion app for mobile devices, 3) Anaphylaxis education and tools to share with family and caregivers
AAFA-TX has many inquiries regarding assistance with paying for medications. Please see this great resource for assistance. Find help with the cost of medicine: http://www.needymeds.org/