Allergic asthma

Why your allergies might trigger asthma symptoms


Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes the airways to become inflamed, making it harder than usual to breathe. The symptoms typically include breathlessness, coughing, wheezing and tightness in the chest. However, researchers have identified different types of asthma which are characterised by particular patterns in the way symptoms occur. One of these is Allergic Asthma.


What is Allergic Asthma?

Allergic Asthma is triggered by coming into contact with something you are allergic to. It’s the most common type of asthma and often occurs during childhood. It can also be the most severe but this is not always the case. Adults who have had this condition since childhood are more at risk of experiencing frequent and severe asthma attacks. It’s common for people who have allergic asthma to also have additional allergy-related conditions like eczema, hay fever, food or medicine allergies.

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What is the difference between Allergic Asthma and other types?

Allergic Asthma differs from other types as it is triggered by coming into contact with an allergen. While general types of asthma could be exacerbated by a range of factors and irritants, Allergic Asthma only occurs after inhaling a substance you are allergic to. One example of this is pollen. If you suffer from hayfever, then breathing in the air where the pollen count is high would trigger your asthma symptoms or an attack if you have Allergic Asthma. You would not experience asthma symptoms without exposure to the allergen.


How is Allergic Asthma diagnosed?

Diagnosing a specific type of asthma will involve figuring out what is causing your symptoms to flare up alongside a physical examination to test the capability of your lungs. Keeping a diary to record how often your symptoms occur and the environmental factors at play can help to spot a pattern. If you have a known allergy then removing or reducing your exposure to it to see if your symptoms reduce may help to confirm your diagnosis.

A physical examination can also determine whether or not you have Allergic Asthma. This could be through testing your lung function to check your levels of exhaled nitric oxide (a molecule produced naturally in the body) and eosinophils (a type of white blood cell). If these elements are higher than normal then this is a sign that your lungs are fighting against an allergen. A skin prick or blood test can also confirm whether or not you have an allergy.


How is Allergic Asthma treated?

This will depend on the nature of your allergy. All types of asthma are treated with inhalers. You’ll have a reliever inhaler (such as a Ventolin Evohaler or Salamol Easi-Breathe) to ease symptoms when they occur and a preventer inhaler (such as to stop attacks from happening. You may be prescribed medication to manage your allergy such as antihistamines to prevent an allergic reaction from occurring. This is particularly helpful if it’s something you cannot control such as pollen.

Avoiding the thing you are allergic to is the best way to prevent your asthma symptoms from occurring. Not getting a cat if you are allergic to their fur and cutting out certain foods from your diet if they cause an allergic reaction for example. It may not always be possible to avoid your allergen so always make sure you have access to your inhaler in case you need it.

If you’re looking for advice on how to manage Allergic Asthma then chat to Dr Felix who can listen to your concerns and help to find the right treatment for you.

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