People who’ve never researched asthma or allergies online or spoken with their doctor about these conditions tend to assume the two are completely separate, unrelated health issues. The truth is allergies and asthma often coincide, as many common allergy-inducing substances can also trigger asthma symptoms. In fact, allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma among both children and adults, so it’s important to understand how allergic reactions can produce asthma symptoms, as well as what’s a normal reaction and what requires immediate medical attention.
How Allergies Can Trigger Asthma Symptoms
For those who don’t have allergies, coming in contact with common allergens such as tree pollen or pet dander is no big deal. A healthy immune system recognizes these as harmless substances and goes about its job of protecting us from truly harmful things like viruses and bacteria.
For individuals with allergies, however, the immune system mistakenly identifies harmless particles like pet dander or pollen as dangerous invaders. As a defensive response, their immune system releases chemicals called antibodies that bind to the allergen within the body, thereby producing signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny or congested nose, skin reactions, etc.
For some, this same allergic reaction can have even worse effects on the lungs and/or airways, producing full-blown asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness (or quickness) of breath, a tight sensation in the chest, etc. In order to trigger asthma symptoms, the allergens usually have to be small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs, such as pollen, animal dander, mold spores, dust mite and/or cockroach feces.
Treatment for allergies and asthma varies drastically from patient to patient, depending on the allergens to which your immune system triggers a response and the severity of your symptoms.
When to Seek Emergency Medical Care
If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s critical you seek emergency medical treatment to help open your airway and restore oxygen levels to a normal, healthy range:
- You find it extremely difficult to breathe
- Your nostrils are open much wider than usual
- Feeling so short of breath you can barely walk or talk
- Your lips or fingernails appear blue or greyish in color
- Your inhaler or other prescribed medications are not helping
Allergy and Asthma Testing and Treatment in Sacramento
At One Community Health, we understand that allergies and asthma can be incredibly frustrating, and in some cases, dangerous if left untreated. That’s why we’re here to determine whether you suffer from allergies, asthma or both, so we can work together to create an effective treatment plan that allows you to feel great and live the healthy, active lifestyle you deserve.