Allergies and Asthma


06/26/17

Allergies and asthma are common problems in the United States. As the sixth most common cause of chronic illness, allergies are your immune system’s overreaction to particular allergens, like dust or pollen. Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways of the lungs and is one of the most common chronic diseases among children.

Allergies

Allergies can be as mild as a runny nose and as serious as anaphylactic shock. Mild allergies to pollen, dust mites, and pet dander can be somewhat controlled by keeping your environment clean and air filtered. Medications and allergy injection therapy can help relieve symptoms of allergies. Allergies to foods, insect venom, and medications can be very serious and life threatening. The most severe reaction to an allergen is anaphylaxis, where airways tighten and make breathing difficult, causing numbness and lightheadedness. If you know you are allergic to something, be sure to carry any prescribed medication with you at all times.

Common dangerous allergens include:

  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Dairy products
  • Bee venom
  • Wasp venom
  • Fire ant venom
  • Penicillin

Asthma

When exposed to asthma triggers, airways narrow and cause difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightening. Long-term treatments, inhalers, and keeping environments trigger-free are ways to help manage asthma. Peak flow meters can give clues that an asthma attack is right around the corner by measuring your breathing. Every asthmatic should have an asthma action plan from a healthcare provider in case of emergency.

Common asthma triggers include:

  • Viruses
  • Exercise
  • Dander
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Pollution
  • Chemicals

Follow this advice from Thomas A. Salzer, M.D. “In the event of a severe allergic reaction or asthma attack, follow your action plan and get to an emergency department, even if you feel better after administering medication.”

You can manage and treat your allergies and asthma with the help of St. Joseph Health Central Texas ENT and the professionals in our Allergy Center. Our services include individualized treatment plans, allergy testing, and desensitization for severe reactions. Request an appointment by calling for a consultation today and get your breath of fresh air!

 

Sources:

CDC - Allergies

CDC - Asthma

 

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