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March 15, 2019

Allergy-Induced Asthma

Do you or someone you know have asthma? How about allergies? Did you know the two can sometimes be linked? More than 80 percent of children and adolescents and 60 percent of adults1 with asthma are sensitized to inhaled environmental allergens—things like pollen and dust mites. That means those things may make symptoms such as sneezing and itchy, watery eyes worse. It also means those things can exacerbate symptoms for those who have asthma.

This is known as allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma.

 

Asthma and quality of life

Everyone is different, but there are some well-known variables that can bring about an asthma attack. Knowing the triggers can help you avoid them or minimize exposure to them, thus reducing your risk of a reaction. In addition to the allergens mentioned above, there are also non-allergic triggers to be aware of, including:1

  • Cold or dry air
  • Exercise
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke or strong scents
  • Flu and other respiratory infections

All of these things can contribute to the severity of asthma, and in fact, exposure to allergic triggers is associated with an increase in asthma symptoms (if allergic or sensitized to them), decreased lung function, and recurring asthma exacerbations. Asthma usually has at least one or more of the following symptoms:2

  • Coughing (especially at night)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

What’s more, people with multiple inhaled allergen sensitizations are at an increased risk of worse control, often resulting in doctor visits, trips to urgent care and the emergency department, and hospitalizations.1 And the number of asthma triggers a person has is associated with the risk of exacerbations, more severe exacerbations, and poorer quality of life.1

 

Common allergic asthma triggers

That’s why it’s so important to determine all of your triggers—allergic and otherwise. If you know what they are, you have a better chance of reducing your exposure to them or avoiding them altogether. Some of the most common allergic triggers are:2

  • Pollen
  • Furry pets (animal dander)
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Mold
Allergy-Induced Asthma


Get answers

You may feel like symptoms increase when you’re around these triggers, but the only way to know for sure what you’re allergic to is through testing. The most well-known allergy test is called a skin-prick test, which is typically done at an allergist’s office and involves puncturing or scratching the upper layer of skin to introduce a very small amount of an allergen (or several) to your immune system and see how your body reacts.

There are other options available, including blood allergy testing—a simple process that only takes one blood draw and can be done by your primary care provider or an allergist. Whichever testing option you choose, your healthcare provider will be able to interpret the results and create a management plan to help you take control of your symptoms. Blog-End-Cap.png

 

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References
  1. Yawn, BP et al. Recommendations to Improve Asthma Outcomes: Work Group Call to Action. Sept. 2018. 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Common Asthma Triggers. www.cdc.gov/asthma/triggers.html. Accessed December 2018 
  3. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Asthma Symptoms. https://acaai.org/asthma/asthma-symptoms Accessed February 2019