What is allergic asthma?

Why it's essential to understand allergic asthma during spring allergy season

Everyone associates the spring allergy season with sniffling, sneezing, and itchy eyes. But there's another condition that's essential to understand if you're impacted by spring allergies: allergic asthma.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes your airways to swell, narrow and produce extra mucus, making it hard to breathe. And the majority of people who have asthma suffer from allergies.1-3 In fact, up to 90% of children and 60% of adults with asthma also have allergies.4,5 Plus, allergies can trigger your asthma or make it worse. When allergies either trigger or worsen asthma, it's known as allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma.

The better you understand your asthma, the better control you'll have over your symptoms. Since there is no cure for asthma, your best defense is to learn what causes your allergic reactions and limit your exposure. Many of the same substances that can cause an allergic reaction can also affect people with asthma, including:

  • Pollen
  • Animals
  • Dust mites
  • Insects
  • So if you're experiencing asthma symptoms during a bout of spring allergies, it's especially important to know what your triggers are. The majority of people with allergies-up to 80%-are allergic to multiple things.6

    You may experience mild reactions to several allergens, but they are so small that you don't notice them on their own. But when you encounter multiple things you are allergic to at the same time, all of those small reactions can add up to the point where you start experiencing asthma symptoms.

    In order to get a fuller picture of your allergic triggers, you should consider making an appointment with a healthcare provider and get a blood allergy test. Along with an exam and your clinical history, this can help your healthcare provider educate you on everything that's making you sneeze, sniffle, and maybe even wheeze.

     

    References:
    [1] Roberts G, Schaffer L, Lack G. Food allergy as a risk factor for life-threatening asthma in childhood case-controlled study. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003;112:168-74.
    [2] Liu AH, Jaramillo R, Sicherer S, et al. National prevalence and risk factors for food allergy and relationship to asthma: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;126:798-806 e13.
    [3] Murray CS, Poletti G, Kebadze T, et al. Study of modifiable risk factors for asthma exacerbations: virus infection and allergen exposure increase the risk of hospital admissions in children. Thorax. 2006;61:376-82.
    [4] Allen-Ramney F, Schoenwetter W, Weiss T, et al. Sensitization to Common Allergens in Adults with Asthma. JABFP. 2005;(18)5 434-439.
    [5] Host A, Halken S. Practical aspects of allergy-testing. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2003; (4) 312-318.
    [6] Ciprandi G, Alesina R, Ariano R, et al. Characteristics of patients with allergic polysensitization; the polismail study. Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;40(3) 77-83.

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