Living With Allergy-Induced Asthma
Having allergies with asthma is a very common and unfavourable combination. Allergic asthma (asthma attacks caused by exposure to allergens) is the most common type of asthma in children, and accounts for about half of asthma cases in adults. These can happen with a large number of allergies that are usually harmless on their own. Even seasonal allergies like hay fever. But unfortunately it extends beyond the itchy eyes and throat, and goes into wheezing and having trouble breathing.
There are the common allergens that you’re likely to expect that cause allergic asthma: dust mites, cockroaches, pet dander, etc. Then there are also triggers that can make allergic asthma worse or cause an asthma attack even without there being an allergic reaction first. Some are actually quite unexpected. They can include cold air, exercise, perfume and fireworks, which can make it seem fairly difficult to avoid.
However, there are steps you can take to avoid breathing in the allergens. These include:
- When pollen counts are high, stay inside as much as you can and keep your windows closed.
- Reduce the amount of dust mites in your home by washing your bedding regularly with hot water, removing items where dust can gather like wall to wall carpeting and heavy curtains.
- Slow down the growth of moulds, dust mites and cockroaches by drying out the air. Keep the moisture below 40% using a dehumidifier.
- Check for pet allergies and rehome your pets if necessary.
- Prevent the inhalation of pollen and mould while outside by wearing a mask and being careful when doing work outside.
If you think you might have asthma, contact your doctor or call 111 right away. There are many things that mimic the symptoms of an asthma attack, including panic attacks, so it’s important to be safe.
Keep reading to find out the answers to patients’ most frequently asked questions about allergic asthma.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some people are prone to asthma attacks triggered by allergens. Some of the most common ones are:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
Asthma triggered by an allergy feels similar to a common allergic reaction with added breathing difficulty. Common allergic asthma symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Stuffy nose
- Itchy eyes
Unfortunately there isn’t a cure for allergic asthma, however it can be effectively managed to limit its impact on your life. Asthma can go away on its own, especially if you developed it as a child, but it can come back and is primarily viewed as a long term condition.
Asthma is generally a long term or life long condition, especially if it develops in adulthood.
Asthma can appear at any age, and symptoms can happen suddenly. About half of those with adult-onset asthma (when asthma appears and is diagnosed in adults over 20) have allergies. This can also occur due to irritants in the workplace (occupational asthma) or in your home.
If you don’t have access to an inhaler, you can follow the below steps to help you breathe better:
- Sit up
- Focus on your breathing, aim to use your diaphragm and nose to breathe slowly
- Stay away from triggers - your doctor can help you identify your triggers when you’re diagnosed with asthma
- Have some honey
- Drink a small amount of caffeine
- Use a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil
This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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