weedsOne out of every five Americans deals with asthma in some form. Many of those cases may be attributed to seasonal or allergy-induced cases of asthma. If you are one of those dealing with allergy-induced asthma, you don’t have to avoid the outdoors any longer–just avoid the common triggers of summer allergies and utilize one of the many options to prevent an asthma attack.

The Allergy-Asthma Interaction
An allergy is defined by the overreaction of your immune system to a foreign protein substance that is inhaled, consumed, injected, or touched. This immune reaction typically triggers additional symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, a scratchy throat, and even difficulty breathing. This reaction is the trigger point for allergy-induced asthma. As the allergen enters your respiratory system, it triggers the allergic response.

  • The allergic reaction in individuals with allergy-related asthma can be extreme difficulty in breathing, inflammation in the bronchial passageways, and an asthmatic attack.

How to Recognize an Asthma Attack
Recognizing the onset of an asthma attack is the first step toward treatment and can literally mean the difference between a minor issue and a major concern. Typical symptoms of allergy-induced asthma include:

  • Excessive sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Itchy or burning mouth or throat
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Tightness in the chest

In addition to these common symptoms, many individuals that have both allergies and asthma exhibit characteristic physical attributes.

  • An individual with these health concerns may rub his or her nose excessively due to constant nasal itching, or have large under eye circles, attributed to nasal congestion.

Allergens to Avoid
If you have an allergen-induced asthma, one option is to avoid common allergens or triggers. You may already be aware of the allergens that cause you the most trouble, but if not, consider this list of allergens below to help you identify and eliminate your allergies.

  • Pollen – The egg-shaped cells found in flowering plants is one of the key culprits that causes allergies. Some of the most common sources of pollen include Bermuda grass, bluegrass, orchard grass, red top grass, sweet vernal grass, and timothy grass.
  • Weeds – The floral weed release is another leading contributor to allergy-induced asthma. Some of the common weed allergens include ragweed, cockleweed, pigweed, Russian thistle, sagebrush, and tumbleweed.
  • Fragrances, Air Pollution, and Pet Dander– All of these are common allergens as well. These issues are found in the environment and negatively impact the state of air quality.

Mediating Allergen-Induced Asthma
In addition to avoiding allergens, you have a number of additional options for mediating your asthma. Prevention is key when it comes to treating asthma. Some of your options for avoiding an allergic attack include:

  • Regularly checking the pollen counts in your area. Your local weather forecast should include pollen counts in your immediate area. Otherwise check pollen.com.
  • Staying inside during extremely warm or humid days and when pollen counts are high.
  • Keeping your windows open and running the air conditioner during high pollen times. The trick with this one is to keep pollen from blowing into your home, so use the system even if it’s not an especially warm day.
  • Maintaining a dust-free home. Be sure to vacuum and dust regularly to avoid reactions related to dust.
  • Checking your air conditioning and heating unit filters. A clean filter functions better, prevents recirculation of allergens, and collects more allergens from the environment.

Treating Your Asthma
In addition to preventing an attack, you can also exercise a variety of options to treat your concerns.

  • Drink sufficient water throughout the day to flush your system and remain hydrated.
  • Avoid pain relievers, like aspirin, that may trigger reactions.
  • Ask your doctor for an oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl.
  • Use a nasal decongestant spray to relieve symptoms for a short period.
  • Consult your doctor to get a prescription nasal spray, such as Flonase.
  • Use a saline rinse to cleanse your nasal passages.

Controlling your allergy symptoms is a key way to prevent complications with allergen-induced asthma. Treat your seasonal allergies to prevent additional complications with your asthma.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michele Holincheck, FNP