What is Allergic Asthma?

Allergic asthma causes your airways to be extremely sensitive to certain allergens. If you come into contact with your triggering allergens, allergic asthma forces your immune system to overreact, resulting in tight airways and restricted breathing. Having an allergic asthma attack can vary from being a minor inconvenience to a life-threatening situation.

Symptoms of Allergic Asthma

Symptoms for allergic asthma often include the following breathing difficulties:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Breathing quickly
  • Feeling like your chest is tightening

Causes and Diagnosis of Allergic Asthma

Scientists and doctors believe that family history and environmental factors affect a person's susceptibility to allergic asthma. If one or both of your parents have allergic asthma or some other allergic disorder, it's more likely that you will also be affected by it.

Studies also suggest that exposure to certain environmental factors, such as repeated exposure to smoking or other harmful chemical or pollutants, increase your risk of developing allergic asthma.

Similar chemicals and substances that prompt allergies will also trigger people with allergic asthma. Some of the most common allergic asthma triggers include:

  • Windblown pollen from weeds, grass, and trees
  • Dust mite or cockroach feces
  • Animal dander
  • Mold Spores

When your body comes into contact with these normally harmless triggers, your immune system overreacts, leading to airway tightening (bronchoconstriction) and excessive mucus production.

Diagnosis will aim to both determine what the specific trigger of your allergic asthma is and find the appropriate and effective treatment options. To determine your specific trigger, your doctor will likely either perform a blood test that reveals specific allergens or prick your skin with a small amount of different allergens and measure your skin's response.

Treatment for Allergic Asthma

The best way to avoid an allergic asthma attack is to avoid the trigger. Here are some useful tips for helping to minimize your contact with some allergic asthma allergens.

  • Avoid spending too much time outside during heavy pollen seasons.
  • Use an air conditioned with an air filter designed for filtering out allergens (HEPA filters).
  • Wash your bed sheets often, at least once per week.
  • Get rid of things that can gather dust and dander like carpet, heavy cloth curtains, and upholstered furniture.
  • Keep the relative humidity in your home to around 40% through the use of a dehumidifier.
  • Avoid animals and pets if you have allergic responses to pet dander.
  • If you have to do work outside in your yard, use a HEPA filter mask to reduce how much pollen and mold you breathe in.

Since it's unlikely that you'll be able to completely avoid your allergic asthma triggers for the rest of your life, you may still require asthma medications to treat your asthma attacks. Some of the most common allergic asthma medications include:

  • Nasal allergy medications
  • Saline rinses
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestant nasal sprays
  • Nasal steroid sprays
  • Prescription medications such as allergy shots, inhaled steroids, or anticholinergic medication

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

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