Allergy and Asthma
It is estimated that 75% of asthma sufferers also have seasonal allergies. Asthma and allergies are both diseases that affect the airways and caused by inflammation. They can overlap and the very same allergens that trigger asthma can also trigger allergies. Another fact is that seasonal allergies tend to increase the severity of asthma and can also be risk factor in someone developing asthma if not already affected by it.
Doctors have known for a long time that if you treat a patient for seasonal allergies you will also reduce the chances of him getting asthma or if the patient is already an asthmatic it can reduce asthma symptoms. As they are so closely linked they must both be assessed and where possible treated with one approach…one airway/one disease.
There are some common allergens that seem to affect both asthmatics and people with allergies. The most important allergens to both people with allergies and asthma seem to be the inhaled variety, which are also often the cause of Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. Some of the more common inhaled allergens include: animal dander, dust mites, cockroach particles, mold and pollen. Discovering what allergens trigger asthma or allergy will help the medical team to treat the illness more thoroughly.
Asthma is rarely caused by food allergies but they can cause life threatening reactions and the common foods that do this are: eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish, shrimp and shellfish and salads and fresh fruits. Additives to our food such as preservatives like sodium bisulfate, potassium bisulfate, sodium meta bisulfate, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfate can also trigger asthma. Most of these are found in such simple day to day foods as: dried fruits and veggies, potatoes, wine and beer, bottle lime of lemon juices, seafood and pickled foods.
Symptoms for both asthma and allergies vary from person to person but some of the usual ones include: hives, rash, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Any of these food allergies may induce an asthma attack and if you experience them it will usually be followed by a wheezing spell. The problem arises when it is not caught early and anaphylaxis occurs which is when the throat swells shut blocking off the airway. If you are an asthmatic and you think you are allergic to certain foods a simple allergy skin test can be done to determine if you are or not.
In order to keep allergy and asthma attacks under control it is important to keep dust under control by keeping your environment as clean and dust-free as possible. Pillows, mattresses and box springs should be encased in allergen-proof zippered covers. At least once a week, bedding should be washed in hot water. Although non-carpeted floors are recommended, if you have carpets they should be vacuumed often but never when an asthmatic child is in the room. Plain window shades are preferable to curtains, drapes or mini blinds and if you do use curtains they should be washed in hot water every two weeks. You should dust everywhere with a damp cloth including lampshades and windowsills. Clutter should be eliminated and toys and books kept stored in enclosed book cases, drawers or closets. Stuffed toys should be the washable type only. Clothes should be kept behind closed closet doors or in drawers. Cheese cloths or commercially purchased filters should be attached to all air ducts. Humidity should be kept regulated and low around 25-50% and the filters in furnaces, heaters and air conditioners should be changed often. Mold and mildew is also something that should be eliminated.