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What is allergic asthma?

Allergic asthma, or allergy-induced asthma, is when allergies either trigger or worsen asthma. Many people don't realize that asthma and allergies often go hand-in-hand. The majority of people who have asthma suffer from allergies, too.2-4 In fact, up to 90 percent of children and 60 percent of adults with asthma suffer from allergies.5,6 

On its own, asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes your airways to swell, narrow, and produce extra mucus. This combination can make it hard to breathe. Asthma is serious and widespread, affecting approximately 300 million people worldwide. For some of these people, asthma is just a minor annoyance, but for others, it can have a major impact on daily activities, especially if allergies to things such as pollen, dust mites, or mold make it worse. 

 

Common allergic asthma symptoms

Asthma usually has at least one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing (especially at night and during exercise)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness, pain, or pressure

Allergic asthma requires a medial diagnosis. To manage your asthma, it’s important to identify and minimize your exposure to all of your asthma triggers, especially allergy triggers.

Asthma info icon

Asthma could lead to an asthma attack, which is also called a severe asthma episode or asthma exacerbation. People with asthma are also at an increased risk of having a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, to food.9

Learn more about anaphylaxis >

 

Dangers of Asthma – The Importance of Proper Management

Asthma does have the potential to be severe and even life-threatening. In the United States, there are more than 4,000 deaths due to asthma each year, many of which are avoidable with proper treatment.16 It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about the frequency and severity of symptoms.
Seek emergency care if you have:

  • Extreme difficulty breathing
  • Severe chest pain
  • Difficulty walking or talking
  • Blue tint to the skin

Because asthma affects the airways and breathing, it can negatively disrupt one’s lifestyle, including difficulty sleeping and a decrease in physical activity. It can also increase the risk for respiratory failure and permanent structural changes in the airways.17 Asthma complications can occur for various reasons, including exposure to allergens.

Asthma can also interfere with your ability to go about your day-to-day activities, affect your performance at work or even your child’s school attendance.
 

Asthma Missed school days

Asthma is one of the top reasons for missing school days.7


 

Life-threatening Asthma

The fear of a life-threatening asthma attack can stop you from participating in sports or physical activities, going for a hike or sitting around a campfire

Asthma Inhaler

 Many people who have asthma are very reluctant to do any sort of exercise because they are worried that it might trigger an attack.8


CAN YOU OUTGROW ASTHMA?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to outgrow asthma or for it to go away once you have it.  Asthma is a chronic disease that permanently changes your lungs’ airways.15 It is possible for symptoms and attacks to lessen or get better over time. However, you are always at risk for those symptoms to return.

 

Common allergic asthma causes & triggers

When it comes to managing your asthma, it is important to identify and minimize exposure to any allergy triggers you may have. Many of the same substances that can cause an allergic reaction can also affect people with asthma.  Common allergens that may trigger allergic asthma include:

  • Tree, grass, and weed pollen
  • Animal dander
  • Dust mites
  • Insects
  • Mold

While there's a strong connection between allergies and asthma, there are many other triggers to be aware of, too. Some of the most common non-allergic triggers include: 

  • Cold or dry air
  • Exercise
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Other respiratory infections 10

Many people with asthma have multiple triggers. Identifying your triggers as soon as possible is the key to improving your symptom management. And you’ll need to pay close attention to your allergies and asthma triggers because they can change over time.

Learn more > 

 

Why don’t I have allergic asthma Symptoms all the time?

Everyone has their own unique combination of allergic triggers and not all of them are obvious. In fact, the majority of people with allergies—up to 80%—are allergic to multiple things.11 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.

Determining if you have allergies and identifying your allergic triggers can help you stay below the point where you start having allergic asthma symptoms – your symptom threshold. It has been shown that reducing exposure to confirmed allergy triggers can have a significant impact on the ability to control asthma12 with fewer symptoms, fewer hospital visits, and improved quality of life.13-14

Learn how your allergic triggers can add up to symptoms >

allergy season
 
Am I Allergic?

Why it’s important to know now

You may think that you have your asthma under control, but it's important to investigate the causes of your symptoms. Many people are so used to living with their symptoms that they never consider asking for help, but how do you know if the symptoms you have are caused by allergy or not?

If you think you or a loved one has an allergy, don't try to manage the problem on your own. Be sure to consult with your healthcare professional about a simple blood test that may be able to help. 

Experience the comfort and convenience of an online diagnosis from a healthcare professional directly from your phone.

 

References
  1. World Health Organization. Global surveillance, prevention and control of chronic respiratory diseases: a comprehensive approach, 2007. http://www.who.int/gard/publications/GARD%20Book%202007.pdf?ua=1 Accessed September 2017.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Allen-Ramney F, Schoenwetter W, Weiss T, et al. Sensitization to Common Allergens in Adults with Asthma. JABFP. 2005;(18)5 434-439.
  6. Host  A, Halken S. Practical aspects of allergy-testing. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2003; (4) 312-318.
  7. CDC. National Surveillance of Asthma: United States, 2001-2010. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_035.pdf. Accessed September 2017.
  8. Mancuso C, Sayles W, Robbins L. Barriers and Facilitators to Healthy Physical Activity in Asthma Patients. J Asthma. 2006;43(2):137-43.
  9. Wang J et al, Food allergies and asthma; Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2011 Jun; 11(3):249-254.
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Common Asthma Triggers. www.cdc.gov/asthma/triggers.html. Accessed September 2017.    
  11. 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.
  12. Eggleston PA. Control of environmental allergens as a therapeutic approach. lmmunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2003;23(3):533-547.
  13. Morgan WJ, Gruchalla R, Kattan M, et al. Results of Home-Based Environmental Intervention among Urban Children with Asthma. N Engl J Med. 2004;351:1068-80.
  14. Halken S, Hansen L, OSterballe O. Effect of mattress and pillow encasings on children with asthma and house dust mite allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003;111:169-76.    
  15. https://acaai.org/resources/connect/ask-allergist/outgrowing-asthma. Accessed May 2019.
  16. https://www.asthmamd.org/asthma-statistics/. Accessed July 2019.
  17. https://www.healthline.com/health/asthma-complications#medical, Accessed July 2019.