Allergy Induced Asthma

Asthma and allergies are among the most common chronic diseases in the United States. Even though both conditions are quite common, most people still ask if there is any relationship between the two. The truth is that there is an evident connection between these two conditions. In fact, the same substances that cause hay fever may also be responsible for causing asthma signs and symptoms. When left untreated, some allergies may turn into asthma. It is, therefore, important to have more information about allergy-induced asthma and understand how you can make your condition more manageable.

What Is Allergy Induced Asthma?

When your airways become extra sensitive to some allergens, you end up developing allergic asthma. Your immune system reacts to these allergens and tightens up the muscles around your airways. This leads to the inflammation of the airways and causes excessive buildup of thick mucus in your airways in the long term. The symptoms of both allergic and non-allergic asthma are usually the same and include wheezing, coughing, quick breathing and chest congestion. You are more likely to develop allergic asthma if you have hay fever or have a family history of allergies.

What Causes Allergy Induced Asthma?

As mentioned, an exposure to certain allergens will lead to the development of allergy induced asthma. Some of these allergens are so small, which can be breathed into the lungs, such as dust mite feces, windblown pollen from grasses, animal dander, mold spores, and cockroach feces.

Bear in mind that allergens can definitely trigger an allergic reaction, but you may also have an asthma attack by being exposed to certain irritants such as air pollution, dusty rooms, cold air, tobacco smoke, perfumes, strong chemical odors, and exercise in cold air.

How to Treat Allergy Induced Asthma

Although it is not possible to treat it completely because it's an immune response to certain allergens, there are certain medications and other treatment options that will make your condition more manageable.

1.  Medications

Certain medications will help control your allergy induced asthma symptoms. For instance:

  • Beta agonists: These medications help relax your airways to improve your breathing as well as the asthma. You have to inhale these tablets to make them more effective, but you can also take them as syrup or tablet. For rapid relief, you can opt for short-acting forms of these medications, such as levalbuterol and albuterol.
  • Ipratropium: You also need to inhale this medication to relax your airways. It works differently from beta agonists because it blocks signals responsible for the tightening up of your airways. As it works quickly, many healthcare providers use it to treat an acute asthma attack. It is sometimes combined with beta-agonists to be more effective.
  • Corticosteroids: Used to block your body's inflammatory response, corticosteroids help alleviate the inflammation caused by an overactive immune system. Inhaled corticosteroids, such as beclomethasone, fluticasone and budesonide, are effective, but are used only for long-term treatment of allergy-induced asthma. Intravenous corticosteroids are usually effective when you want to treat severe asthma attacks.
  • Leukotriene modifiers: These medications are also commonly used to treat allergy-induced asthma symptoms. It works by interfering with leukotrienes, a class of immune signals that lead to asthma. Zileuton and montelukast are some of the most common leukotriene modifiers.
  • Theophylline: Available as a pill, you need to take it once a day to treat your asthma symptoms. It reduces chronic asthma symptoms by helping your airways muscles to relax. The medication is available in a number of different formulations and is usually taken every 24, 12, 8 or 6 hours. You have to take it even when you don't experience any asthma symptoms because it is used as a long-term treatment option for allergic asthma.
  • Anti-IgE therapy: Molecules, known as allergens, are responsible for causing allergy induced asthma. These molecules bind to protein called IgE antibodies. These antibodies bind to allergens and release chemical signals that trigger an allergic reaction. To treat your moderate or severe asthma symptoms, you may consider going for anti-IgE therapy. The aim is to block the activation of IgE antibodies to prevent an allergic reaction.

2.  Allergy Shots

A treatment option called immunotherapy involves getting allergy shots, but that usually works for people with mild asthma. These allergy shots have small amounts of a substance that triggers an allergy response. The idea is to help your immune system get familiar with that substance, so it doesn't react the next time you're being exposed to it. Allergy shots may work greatly for some people and even help improve asthma symptoms to some extent. It is three approved under-the-tongue tablets, including Ragwitek, Grastek and Oralair that you can take in the comforts of your home. These prescription tablets work greatly to treat hay fever and improve your tolerance of allergy triggers.

How to Prevent Allergens for Allergy Induced Asthma

Once you have developed allergy-induced asthma, you will have to use certain treatment options and make some changes to your lifestyle to limit your exposure to certain allergens. Here's a bit more about what you can do in this regard:

  • Keep track of pollen count in your area and stay inside if it's high. Keep your windows closed and if possible, use an air conditioner to filter air. Avoid using an air conditioner that smells moldy or musty.
  • Dust mites are microscopic critters that flourish in your carpets and fabrics. Clean your carpets regularly and wrap your pillows in allergen-proof covers. Be sure to wash your bedding and sheets at least once every week in hot water.
  • Make use of a dehumidifier if humidity level in your home is above 40%. Keeping humidity low is important to slow the growth of cockroaches, molds and dust mites.
  • Keep your pet outdoors if you have pet allergies. Never allow them entry in your bedroom freely.
  • Clean your bathroom and kitchen regularly to prevent cockroaches and mold. Use professional pest control services to get rid of cockroaches.
  • Install a large HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) room filter in your home to get rid of pollen, smoke and other microscopic allergens. Wear protective gear with a HEPA filter mask when gardening to avoid breathing in mold and pollens. 
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