Is Allergic Asthma?
Allergic asthma is asthma caused by an allergic reaction. It’s
also known as allergy-induced asthma. You may have allergic asthma if you have
trouble breathing during allergy season.
People with allergic asthma usually start feeling symptoms after
inhaling an allergen such as pollen. The Asthma and Allergy
Foundation of America reports that more than half of people with asthma
have allergic asthma. Allergic asthma is treatable in most cases.
Are the Causes of Allergic Asthma?
You develop allergies when your immune system overreacts to the
presence of a harmless substance called an allergen. Some people may develop
breathing problems from inhaling allergens. This is known as allergic asthma.
It occurs when the airways swell as part of an allergic reaction.
In general, inhaled allergens cause allergic asthma. Some
allergens that can cause this condition include:
- pet dander
- dust mites
- tobacco smoke
- air pollution
- strong odors, including scented lotions and perfumes
- chemical fumes
Cockroaches, milk, fish, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, wheat, and
tree nuts can also cause allergic asthma. However, an asthmatic reaction to
these allergens is less common, but may be serious.
Are the Symptoms of Allergic Asthma?
Allergic asthma and regular asthma have the same symptoms. They
- chest tightness
- rapid breathing
- shortness of breath
If you have hay fever or skin allergies, you might also
- itchy skin
- flaky skin
- runny nose
- itchy eyes
- watery eyes
If you swallowed the allergen, these symptoms might be present as
- swollen face or tongue
- tingly mouth
- swollen mouth, throat, or lips
- anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction)
Is Allergic Asthma Diagnosed?
A skin prick test is the common way to check for allergies. Your
doctor will poke your skin with a needle containing a small amount of an
allergen. After 20 minutes, your doctor will check your skin for red bumps.
These bumps are a sign of an allergic reaction.
Additional tests that can check whether you have asthma along
with your allergies include:
- spirometry: measures
the amount of air you inhale and exhale. This test looks for narrowing in the
bronchial tubes of your lungs.
- peak flow: measures
air pressure as you breathe out. This is a simple test of lung function.
function: tests check whether your breathing improves after
you use an asthma medication (bronchodilator). If this medication improves your
breathing, you probably have asthma.
Are the Treatments for Allergic Asthma?
Treating allergic asthma can involve treating the allergy, the
asthma, or both.
To treat your asthma, your doctor may prescribe inhaled
anti-inflammatory medication or oral medications that help block the allergic
response. The asthma inhaler prevents asthma and is usually prescribed for
daily use. Another fast-acting relief inhaler treats asthma symptoms when they
Allergy treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms. You
may need an antihistamine to deal with classic allergy symptoms such as
itching. You might also need allergy shots if your symptoms are more severe.
Are the Potential Complications for Allergic Asthma?
Allergic asthma can have serious complications. One complication
is anaphylaxis. This type of severe allergic reaction may have symptoms such
- mouth or facial swelling
- difficulty swallowing
- nasal congestion
- slurred speech
Untreated anaphylaxis can be life-threatening. It may cause
problems such as an abnormal heart rate, weakness, low blood pressure, rapid
pulse, cardiac arrest, and pulmonary arrest.
Can I Prevent Allergic Asthma?
Allergic asthma attacks aren’t always preventable. However, you
may be able to make them less frequent by changing your environment.
Dust and vacuum regularly and use a HEPA filter. This can reduce
the number of allergens in your environment.
Keep your windows and doors closed when pollen counts are high.
Pollen is a common allergen. It triggers asthma-like symptoms in people with
hay fever. If pollen makes you wheeze, see your doctor.
Don’t use an air conditioner or fan that smells like mold.
Purchase new appliances if necessary. Mold can trigger asthma and allergy
symptoms. It’s also potentially life-threatening when inhaled. Remove any
traces of mold from your walls or floors using a mold-removing cleaner.
Mattress and pillow covers are often suggested as means to decrease the allergen exposure to dust mites, but there is debate over whether the cost is worth the benefit.
Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner if the humidity in your
home rises above 40 percent.
Avoid keeping animals indoors if you have pet allergies. You may
need to avoid animals completely if you have severe allergies.
Clean and disinfect your kitchen and bathroom to prevent
Wear a HEPA mask when you garden. This can help you avoid
inhaling pollen or mold.