Allergens have different effects in different people. In some, they can cause sneezing fits and watery eyes while in others, they can cause asthma attacks. Allergens are substances that can trigger an asthma attack when someone breathes them in. The most common type of asthma, even for children, is allergic asthma. A huge percentage of people suffering from asthma have allergies along with it. Some of the most common triggers include pollen, dust mites, or mold. According to one experienced allergy Dr. in Leesburg, even if one’s asthma is non-allergic, it will usually get worse if one is affected by an allergen. Sometimes, just a strong smell can trigger an asthma attack.
The human immune system is meant to protect an individual from harmful substances, but with allergies, the body will also need protection from harmless substances like cat dander, and smells. When one comes across allergens, the body produces antibodies, which protect the system. In the process, the body releases another substance called histamine, and undergoes certain reactions and upheavals, which manifest as swelling, runny nose, and sneezing. For asthmatics, any great allergy doctor will explain how the air passages become inflamed, with subsequent constriction, and flooding of mucus. This causes the airways to tighten up, making it difficult to breathe. Thus, if one has allergic asthma, their air passage is extra sensitive to certain substances.
Managing Allergic Asthma
Allergic asthma can be effectively managed by controlling the allergens. When pollen counts are high, one needs to stay indoors as much as possible, keeping the windows closed, and only using an air conditioner if it’s hot. Avoid air conditioners that have moldy or musty smells. A swamp cooler (evaporative cooler) should be completely avoided. Dust mites are minute critters that live in carpets and other household fabric. Mattresses and pillows should be wrapped in allergen-proof covers, and bedding should be washed in hot water as often as possible.
Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting if possible, making sure to avoid areas where dust regularly gathers. Indoor humidity should also be controlled, as it will help dry out the air, thereby slowing down the growth of molds, and dust mites. Additionally, get pets tested to find out if they are causing the problem. There are no hypoallergenic cats or dogs. One can wash them as much as they want but it will not make a difference. An allergic-asthmatic should find another home for them or keep them outdoors. Cat allergens can stick around the house for months on end, even after the cats no longer live there.
Although the aforementioned steps can help control allergens, one will still require asthma and allergy medications to treat asthma attacks when they happen. For allergies, some common anti-histamine and allergy medications may be used including nasal allergy medications (that don’t cause dizziness), nasal decongestant sprays (for few days), and saline rinses. Stronger medication include nasal steroids and stronger antihistamines, but if they still don’t work, one can see a qualified doctor and take allergy shots.
For asthma, good treatment is easily available but most require a prescription. Common examples of prescribed medication include inhaled steroids, which are anti-inflammatory in nature, and bronchodilators, which loosen lung muscle tension and open up air passages. If these traditional treatments fail, an injectable medication known as Xolair may be used. Xolair helps suppress antibody levels in the blood. Additionally, tiotropium bromide may be used. This is a long-acting anticholinergic medication used together with regular medication to reduce the symptoms in the body.