Approximately 50 million Americans experience allergies and 25 million have asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). It’s often the case that these two conditions go hand-in-hand. We explore more about this link below.
What Are the Symptoms of Allergies & Asthma?
Allergies and asthma are both linked to respiratory symptoms, including coughing and airway congestion. However, there are symptoms that are unique to each condition.
The most common allergy symptoms occur after being exposed to pollen and include:
- Itchy, red, watery eyes.
- Runny/stuffy nose.
- Itchy/scratchy throat.
- Postnasal drip/cough.
- Rash and hives.
In most cases, asthma involves the following symptoms:
- Tightness in chest.
- Loss of breath/inability to catch breath.
- Coughing, especially at night or in the morning.
The Link Between Allergies & Asthma
While many people experience either allergies or asthma, it’s also common to experience both together, a condition known as allergy-induced asthma. The most common type of asthma, it is estimated that 60% of asthma cases are rooted in allergies.
This link is due to the fact that many allergy triggers can also prompt asthma symptoms.
Your immune system’s job is to protect you from diseases, infections and illnesses. If you have allergies, when your immune system detects a substance such as pollen, it overreacts. During this reaction, the immune system produces antibodies known as Immunoglobulin E (IgE), triggering the production of histamine. Histamine prompts swelling and mucus production, causing your allergy and asthma symptoms.
If you have allergies or asthma, it’s important to pay attention to pollen counts and stay indoors on dry, windy days.
Managing Allergies & Asthma
While allergies and asthma can be treated individually, they are usually treated together in the case of allergy-induced asthma. Some options for managing this condition include:
- Montelukast (Singulair). This medication is primarily prescribed for asthma, but can also provide relief for allergy symptoms. It is a pill that’s taken daily to control the body’s immune response.
- Allergy shots. This form of immunotherapy works like a vaccine in that small amounts of an allergen are introduced into the body so that the immune system can build up a tolerance. Most people take allergy shots for three to five years.
- Anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) immunotherapy. This type of therapy targets the chemical signals that produce an allergic reaction. This treatment is typically only recommended for people with moderate to severe persistent asthma who don’t respond to other types of treatment.
For more information about the relationship between allergies and asthma or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist, call Midwest Allergy & Asthma today.