Allergies and Asthma: What To Know This Season
Allergy season is here, and it’s not just your typical allergies; it’s what can come from them: asthma. Around 25 million people in the US have asthma, with allergic asthma being the most common, affecting around 60% of people with asthma.
Telling the difference between allergic and nonallergic asthma is difficult, as they have similar symptoms: wheezing and shortness of breath. However, allergic asthma takes place when certain allergens set off your asthma symptoms, which happens because your immune system senses something potentially harmful.
With asthma specifically, the immune system fights potential harm by releasing something called immunoglobulin. Too much of this, though, can cause the airways of the lungs to swell. That’s where difficulty breathing comes in–sometimes even an asthma attack.
Common Symptoms of Asthma
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Chest tightness or feeling “heavy”
Communicating Your Symptoms
It may seem odd, but some people have a difficult time relating what’s happening to them or knowing exactly how sick they really are. That’s why we have tools to help, like a Peak Flow Meter, which you can use to test your ability to breathe over a period of time. It measures the peak of your breathing–i.e. the best of it. Simply take a deep breath in, blow it out as hard and fast as you can, and it will tell you what your peak flow is. That way, you know your max and can set a marker for next time when you’re feeling not so great. If you hit near a critical point, seek help. Doctors usually have it in office, or you can purchase at the pharmacy.
Most Common Irritants
The most common allergens that act as asthma irritants, creating an environmental asthma, include mold, pets, pollen, or even something as odd as seafood exposure, which can cause an anaphylactic response. For these more serious responses, an epipen is the best way to go, while an inhaler is better for the more mild situations.
Determining Your Seasonal or Year Round Asthma
Visiting your doctor is really the best way to go about finding out your situation. It’s important to know if you’re dealing with seasonal allergies or year round allergies that get worse each year.