Asthma is a chronic disorder of the body that creates restricted airways affecting breathing. Allergies are abnormal reactions to things or allergens that your body is sensitized to. When you have allergies the risk factor for asthma problems or severe asthma attacks increases dramatically. If you suspect or believe you have symptoms of an allergy reaction you should make an appointment with your family doctor, especially if you have already been diagnosed as an asthmatic. The doctor will set up allergy testing to try and determine what if any allergies you may have and start you on medications both short and long term to prevent a severe allergic reaction that could trigger asthma attacks. It is important a person with asthma know what his allergies are, avoid or eliminate things that you are allergic to where possible, take all your allergy medications and be sure if your asthma symptoms become more severe to follow your asthma action plan.
To understand a little more about allergies and asthma you need to know what the symptoms of allergies are. They are of course different with each individual case but may include: itchy, watery eyes, skin, runny nose, eczema (rough red skin), swollen mounds on skin known as hives, darkness or circles around or under the eyes, recurring headaches, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, diarrhea and stomach cramps. As you can see many of the symptoms are identical to asthma symptoms. Just as there are many symptoms of allergies there are also various ways allergens can enter your body. They can be ingested with various types of foods, drinks and even medicines. Inhalation is also a common way for allergens to enter our system when we breathe such things as grass, tree or plant pollens, household dust, animal dander, mould as well as many other items.
Anyone can have allergies and you do not need asthma to have them but it is asthmatics who have more difficulties with allergies. In an asthmatic as the airways may already be restricted and breathing difficult, allergies only increase the inflammation and increases mucus production. (Major reason for coughing in the body is to expel mucus). Allergens can have both an immediate affect and also hours later. The immediate reaction is a tightening of the extra sensitive airways with coughing and wheezing symptoms which can normally be relieved with an inhaler or puffer. The second reaction that may come hours later has the same affect but by a gradual swelling of the airways which is often not recognized because of the delay. If you are on asthma preventer Medication such as corticosteroid on a regular basis this may prevent this from happening or aid in treatment when it does occur.
If you are asthmatic you can reduce some of the allergens at least in your own environments such as your home. There are numerous products on the market that are asthma and allergy friendly such as teddy bears, pillows, vacuums, mattress covers etc and all are labeled accordingly. Reading the labels on these types of items that are noted allergen carriers will help ensure that you purchase the right materials you need to reduce your own allergy triggers. However it is not necessary to try and remove all sources of allergens…just the ones that have an affect on you. For example if your child is allergic to say pollen then you do not need to rip up your carpets and rush out and by anti allergy bedding and toys, you may just have to remove the child’s clothing when they come in from being outside and keep the windows closed where possible. Allergies and asthma can be kept under control and the key is to being knowledgeable and prepared with medications and your asthma action plan at hand to cover all emergencies.